When Marc Nave Jr. walked into the Woody Hayes Athletic Center on Tuesday for Ohio State’s first practice of the spring, he felt like he was home.
The three-star in-state offensive line prospect watched Ohio State’s offensive linemen get after it in practice for several hours, then sat in on positional meetings hosted by offensive line coach Justin Frye. Before he departed Columbus for his hometown of Toledo, Ryan Day asked Nave and his family to stop by his office. After the Buckeyes officially offered Nave on Jan. 31, they wanted an update on where he stood.
He didn’t feel pressured to join the team. He’s loved it since he donned a Braxton Miller jersey at 7 years old, so he was ready to pull the trigger. Nave told Ohio State he wanted to be a part of the 2024 class, then announced it publicly one day later.
“I actually committed while I was there,” Nave told Eleven Warriors of his visit Tuesday. “Coach Day brought me to his office, and he talked me through everything. He told me he didn’t want me to rush anything, but if I’m ready, I can do it. I told him right then and there I was committed.”
Thank you God. #Gobucks pic.twitter.com/4df3FLCGWi— Marc Nave jr. (@marcnavejr) March 8, 2023
After hearing the good news, the coaching staff created a small uproar inside the WHAC.
“(Coach Day) was hyped,” Nave said. “The whole staff was. It was a good thing to see, just everyone coming to congratulate me.”
Nave admits he usually isn’t sentimental, but he knew his decision to become a Buckeye was special.
“Ohio State is only two to three hours away from my hometown. So I thought, if I could play for the best team in the country as close to home as possible, that was my goal. It just happened to be Ohio State, which has always been my dream school,” Nave said.
“Just growing up being a Buckeyes fan (it was special),” Nave said of what the moment meant to him. “And two years ago, I wasn’t even in the physical shape to be a Division I prospect. For everything to play out like this, I’m just thankful for the whole Ohio State staff, coach Day and coach Frye for believing in me as a prospect and a person.”
When Nave arrived home that night, he kept thinking about what he witnessed at practice and, afterward, began to get excited about the future.
“Honestly, after I came back from the visit, I’d probably say how they practiced, the intensity of it and how competitive it is (really sold me on OSU),” Nave said. “Coach Frye and coach (Mike) Sollenne, they coach by going into great detail about what you did wrong and how you need to fix it, but they do it as soon as you make a mistake. It’ll be like you make a mistake, and he’s already right there next to you telling you what you should have done and how you should do it. Then the players there, you get to practice against the best players in the world every day in practice. It was just a no-brainer to commit there.
“I got to sit in meetings and see coach Frye go through everything, be really direct and straightforward. He’s not really a coach that likes to say a million different words because he doesn’t want you overthinking things – he just wants you to play ball. He’s really similar to my offensive line coach that I have now.”
Soon after his commitment, Nave didn’t waste any time taking the role as a peer recruiter on social media, telling prospects such as Stacy Gage and Devontae Armstrong they should also join him and commit to the Buckeyes.
Make that move brody!!— Marc Nave jr. (@marcnavejr) March 8, 2023
Thanks bro!! Make that move!— Marc Nave jr. (@marcnavejr) March 8, 2023
“I think that’s a big part of it, just helping get the best here so we can go against the best and make each other better, then be the best every year,” Nave said of peer recruiting. “The 2024 class is going to be a big part of that.”
When asked if he had a top priority prospect he’d like to help recruit to Ohio State, Nave didn’t hesitate.
“Jordan Marshall,” Nave said about the four-star Cincinnati running back. “I actually just got his number, so I’m probably going to try and talk to him a bit. I’m also probably trying to get the Armstrong twins to commit too.”
There are likely plenty of more visits to Ohio State on the horizon, the quickest coming later this month on March 25 for another spring practice. Nave said Toledo Central Catholic doesn’t allow players to enroll early in college, so he will likely have to enroll in college in the summer of 2024. But first, he’ll focus on preparing for his senior year and helping his team repeat as state champions after a 16-1 record last year.
“I just want to work on keeping my body right and keep improving and keeping my feet good,” Nave said. “I want to work on the drills (Ohio State) does at practice. They send me them, and when I go down there on visits, I can record them and practice them on my own.”