Whenever Marc Nave Jr. reflects on his first-ever memories of football, Ohio State comes to mind.
Somewhere at the Nave household, the 6-foot-5, 315-pound 2024 Ohio offensive lineman swears there’s photographic evidence of him sporting former Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller’s jersey when he was seven years old.
“I loved watching those guys and that Buckeye team,” Nave told Eleven Warriors.
In addition to Miller, Nave also admires past Ohio State offensive linemen standouts Josh Myers, Jonah Jackson and Thayer Munford. And, most recently, Paris Johnson.
“I watched Paris all throughout high school,” Nave said. “My eighth-grade year was his senior year, and he had that crazy highlight mixtape with all the pancakes and stuff. So I’ve been watching him for a long time and probably my favorite offensive lineman.”
Ever since he first put on a pair of football pads, Nave dreamt of one day playing for Ohio State. His dream now has a chance to become a reality if he so chooses, as Ohio State offensive line coach Justin Frye presented Nave with a scholarship offer on Tuesday after he completed a standout junior season in which he helped lead Central Catholic to a 16-1 record and an Ohio Division II state championship.
“It felt crazy to me,” Nave said of receiving his offer. “I still can’t believe it. You know, me just growing up being a Buckeye fan, that was something I dreamed of. Playing for Ohio State in the state that I'm from and, you know, it’s not just one of the biggest programs in Ohio, but in the country. It was surreal to receive an offer from them.”
Nave has been on the Buckeyes’ radar for a few months, as he visited Ohio State in November for the Indiana game. He didn’t get to meet Frye at the game because he had difficulties traveling to the stadium, causing him to arrive late. However, he did notice the electric gameday atmosphere at Ohio Stadium.
“Probably the fan base,” Nave said when asked what’s the most appealing thing about potentially playing for Ohio State. “The amount of fans that travel to away games and coming to support all the time is crazy to me. When I went to go watch (the Indiana) game, a bunch of fans were super hyped. Just playing in that atmosphere would be surreal to me.”
I had a great time @OhioStateFB yesterday! Great team win. Go bucks!! @etwill21 @CoachJFrye pic.twitter.com/OxFSv258DZ— Marc Nave Jr. (@marcnavejr) November 13, 2022
Nave didn’t meet Frye for the first time until Jan. 27, when the Ohio State offensive line coach stopped by Central Catholic.
The two frequently conversed after that, with a Buckeyes offer officially coming four days later. Since Frye and Nave connected, the two have spoken at length nearly twice per day. When evaluating offensive linemen prospects, Frye looks for four qualities, which he calls the four B’s: Base, bend, balance and burst.
After evaluating his junior film, Frye felt Nave had the athletic prowess to play for the Buckeyes and presented him with a scholarship offer, making him the third in-state offensive line prospect in the 2024 class to pick up an offer, joining Devontae and Deontae Armstrong.
WOW!! I am extremely blessed to be offered my 18th division 1 scholarship to THE OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY! AGTG!#Gobucks pic.twitter.com/jdcqIaQXXW— Marc Nave Jr. (@marcnavejr) January 31, 2023
“He was just saying I’m really quick off the line,” Nave said. “I keep my feet moving on contact. A lot of guys when they first make that initial contact, they’ll stop their feet, and it’s like a shield of strength so when someone hits them, they’ll stop. I play the game very aggressively. I’m a nasty type of player.”
Much of Nave’s improved quickness from his sophomore to junior seasons came from losing 45 pounds, as the Toledo standout went from 360 to 315 pounds.
“I did strength training and cardio,” Nave said of his workout program. “It was a regimen that I worked out with my coaches. “
Last season for Central Catholic, Nave primarily played right guard but also played tackle and center. He’ll likely be a guard or center with Ohio State, and Nave is accustomed to snapping in shotgun formations, so he wouldn’t necessarily have an adjustment period on that front were he to be put at center.
Even though Nave has his dream offer in hand, he says he’s likely still a few months away from committing, as he plans to make a decision either in late May or early June. He plans on visiting OSU on March 7 and hopes to continue building relationships with Frye and graduate assistant offensive line coach Mike Sollenne.
“I know the type of guys that Frye and Sollenne are, I know they develop players,” Nave said. “It’s just about me getting around everybody and seeing how they coach and how I’m going to be coached when I get there. I’m really trying to build a firm relationship with those guys because I’m going to be around them all the time. So it’s just important to me to take everything into consideration.”
Nave says nearly all of the schools that have offered him a scholarship — Boston College, Cincinnati, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, Pittsburgh, Purdue and Toledo, among others — are still in contention in his recruitment. But there’s now a clear frontrunner for his commitment.
“Obviously, Ohio State is at the top of my list right now,” Nave said.