Marc Nave Jr. has spent most of his high school football career playing guard, and that’s the position he will likely play on Ohio State’s offensive line.
For his final year of high school football, however, Nave is preparing to play tackle.
In his senior season at Toledo Central Catholic, Nave could move outside to fill a need for the Fighting Irish. In preparation for that, Nave has been reshaping his body and learning the differences of playing on the edge instead of the interior.
“A few months ago, I was like almost 330 (pounds). So I've been cutting really hard. Trying to get down to like 300 before the season,” said Nave, who currently weighs 318 pounds. “And I gotta learn to play outside more. I’ve played inside mostly. So it’s just something that I'm trying to get used to.”
Nave, who is 6-foot-5, feels he already has the athleticism needed to play outside, but says he’s still adjusting to the timing of blocking defensive ends as a tackle rather than blocking interior defensive linemen as a guard.
“It's more of the mindset like of switching and knowing like how many times you gotta set or the midline or where you gotta strike, timing punches. Because you know, inside, it's more quick-hitting, you don't gotta really wait and be patient with them. So you just got to flip your mindset,” Nave said after participating in Sunday’s Under Armour Next camp in Obetz, Ohio.
Nave also expects to play some snaps at center for Toledo Central Catholic this year.
“I'll probably play center and left tackle my senior year. Depending on who we’re playing,” Nave said. “If it’s a really big game, I'll probably have to play tackle. If it’s a blowout, they’ll probably give me some reps at center.”
While guard remains Nave’s favorite position, he knows the experience of playing all across the line will help him when he gets to Ohio State in 2024.
“It's really just me just trying to contribute any way I can and just really help the team win,” Nave said. “That's how I feel like, just coming in and just helping any way I can with the offensive line play.”
A three-star prospect ranked as the No. 597 overall prospect in 247Sports’ composite rankings for the 2024 class, Nave expects to play either guard or center at Ohio State. But he knows Ohio State offensive line coach Justin Frye wants his linemen to be versatile, and he’s eager to please his future coach.
Nave, who committed to Ohio State in March – just over five weeks after he received his offer from the Buckeyes – says his relationship with Frye has continued to grow stronger over the past two months since his commitment.
“We’ve really been getting to know each other. I know how he coaches. I know how he wants things done,” Nave said. “Because that's a lot of ways recruits can go wrong with going to certain schools is you can do something in a good way but I mean, are you doing it the way the coach wants it? I think it's a big difference right there. So yeah, just getting around him and seeing how he operates and how he does things was a real big part of me committing there.”
While Nave is the lowest-ranked of Ohio State’s four offensive line commits in the 2024 class, it’s clear Frye thinks highly of Nave based on his receiving an offer over several higher-ranked Ohio offensive linemen in the class, including uncommitted four-star guard William Satterwhite and Michigan commits Luke Hamilton and Ben Roebuck.
Nave hadn’t previously participated in camps like Sunday’s Under Armour Next camp, which likely contributed to his lower ratings from recruiting services. Nave said he’s never been a big believer in camps because they don’t show how an offensive lineman can play in pads, and he says fans will see a violent blocker when they watch him in actual games.
“Obviously, you can't run block in shorts and shirts,” Nave said.
Nave said he did enjoy Sunday’s camp, though, because it was an opportunity for him to work on his hand skills and footwork. And his game isn’t solely predicated on power, as he views his athleticism and his football IQ as additional strengths.
“Being athletic and covering guys up. Being a real smart player, seeing different types of stunts and blitzes that maybe my other offensive linemen don't see or even players in the backfield don't see, and I can call that type of stuff out,” Nave said when asked what skills he prides himself on.
Nave also believes players from Northwest Ohio don’t always get as much credit in the recruiting process as they deserve. But he looks forward to bringing more attention to the talent from that part of the country along with 2023 Ohio State offensive line signee Luke Montgomery, who came to the Buckeyes by way of Findlay.
“Northwest Ohio is really slept on, because of Northeast Ohio, with all the success going on over there. So sometimes, guys like us just got to remind, there’s a lot of players up there,” Nave said. “It's a lot of great offensive linemen and defensive linemen in Northwest Ohio. So just being able to go against those guys all the time really sharpens each other.”
Now that he is committed to Ohio State, Nave can spend his senior year focusing on continuing to develop as an offensive lineman and finishing his high school career strong. He’ll also be helping the Buckeyes recruit more players into the 2024 class, which he wants to be the No. 1 recruiting class in the country when all is said and done.
“Everybody's trying to get after it as far as recruiting and trying to just really get players on board. Because we want to be the best team in the country. We want to have the best class,” Nave said. “The ultimate goal is to win the natty there. So whoever we can get in our class that’s really good players, we're gonna go after.”
But while some of the other members of Ohio State’s 2024 class have been vocal about publicly recruiting other prospects via social media, Nave said he prefers to keep those conversations private.
“I’m more of a low-key recruiter,” Nave said. “I try and like hit the guys up on the down low and really just show them how Ohio State is, and when they visit, just try and show them like we can really do something special here for the next few years.”
Nave says he has already started building a close bond with the other commits in the class, particularly fellow offensive linemen Deontae and Devontae Armstrong and Ian Moore. He said it’s been especially easy to connect with the other in-state prospects in the class like the Armstrongs.
“We all grew up Ohio State fans, kids from Ohio,” Nave said. “It's almost like, we click naturally.”
The Armstrongs, who also participated in Sunday’s camp, said Nave has been a great fit within the class.
“He’s a great kid, and somebody that’s easy to talk to, just like us. And I think we all kind of mesh together,” Deontae Armstrong said. “We’re all just synced together. I feel like the coaching staff did a good job making sure that everybody works together.”