Ohio State Five-star 2025 QB Commit Tavien St. Clair Fulfills Dream by Qualifying for Elite 11 Finals

By Garrick Hodge on April 21, 2024 at 6:28 pm
Tavien St. Clair

Growing up, Tavien St. Clair would study Elite 11 Finals highlights with his father, Marcus St. Clair.

The five-star Ohio State 2025 quarterback commit fondly remembers watching former Buckeye legend Justin Fields beat out fellow top signal-caller prospect Trevor Lawrence for Elite 11 Finals MVP in 2017. The Bellefontaine product estimates he started paying attention to the event before that, but either way, he knew he wanted to compete at the Elite 11 Finals himself someday. He wasn’t sure if he’d ever get the opportunity, considering he hails from Bellefontaine, a town that has a population just north of 14,000. 

He knows he will get that opportunity now. In cold and windy throwing conditions Sunday afternoon, St. Clair stood out the most among 64 signal-callers who participated in the Elite 11 Columbus Regional at Upper Arlington High School. The other 63 invitees came from near and far, with their hometowns ranging from Ohio and other Midwestern states to as far as away as Hawaii. Yet, St. Clair, who said he was determined to represent his hometown with pride Sunday, was the only prospect to receive an invitation to the Elite 11 Finals.

“It’s a great opportunity,” St. Clair told a group of reporters after completing the regional. “My family and I have talked about this moment for a very long time. So just being able to come out here and do what I said I wanted to do and do the things I was striving to be, it’s going to be a high point in my life for a long time.” 

St. Clair is the seventh signal caller to be invited to the Elite 11 Finals, joining Texas commit K.J. Lacey, SMU commit Keelon Russell, Oklahoma commit Kevin Sperry, Notre Dame commit Deuce Knight, Texas A&M commit Husan Longstreet and Florida State commit Tramell Jones. A total of 20 rising senior quarterbacks will eventually earn invites to the event.

“Now that it’s here, it’s really a full circle moment,” St. Clair said. “It’s been really special.”

Throughout the day, St. Clair and a group of other quarterbacks rotated through different stations. The group participated in a variety of drills, focused on footwork, ball placement, pocket presence, sideline throws and more.

Ohio State quarterbacks Devin Brown and Air Noland, who were both Elite 11 finalists in their respective recruiting classes, stopped by Upper Arlington High School to support St. Clair and speak to the Elite 11 attendees. St. Clair has gotten to know Brown, Noland and the rest of the OSU quarterback room well over the past few months.

“We have a really close relationship now,” St. Clair said of his bond with Ohio State’s current quarterbacks. “I can text them or get ahold of them any time, ask them questions, all that. It really is and has become a brotherhood now. For them to come out and support me when I got my Finals invite like they had, it was really special. I’m glad they came out and supported me and helped this brotherhood get stronger.”

St. Clair said the coaching he received Sunday resonated with him because it was nearly the same things he’s been told over the past few weeks by Ohio State offensive coordinator Chip Kelly. 

“There was a lot of similar stuff I heard (today) to when I was on campus with coach Kelly,” St. Clair said. “The mind of the game and really just trying to have your footwork as clean as possible is really the main thing I got from today, which coach Kelly talks about as well.”

St. Clair and Kelly have developed a strong rapport in the past few months since the former UCLA coach arrived on campus. 

“He’s been great, I think he’s going to do great things in Columbus,” St. Clair said of his interactions with Kelly. “He’s been a great add-on. In a few weeks, I’ve learned so much already, more than I have in my entire football career just being in the quarterback meetings. It’s going to be really special in Columbus.” 

St. Clair was essentially Ohio State’s honorary sixth scholarship quarterback during the spring, as he attended most of the Buckeyes’ practices and sat in on position group meetings. At times, Kelly would try to catch St. Clair off guard by calling on him to see if he’d know the protection or read on a certain play. Sometimes he’d know the answer; other times Brown, Noland or one of the other three quarterbacks in the room would come to his rescue and give him the answer.

While he still has a final prep season ahead of him, St. Clair said he already feels like he’s “part of the group” and will enroll at OSU in January after the completion of his senior season this fall. 

“Something I can take back to my team is just to compete every day,” St. Clair said of his biggest takeaway from being around Ohio State’s spring practices. “Just trying to be the best that you can for your teammate and not only for yourself but for the university and my school back at home. Compete every day, because Ohio State is going to be the best team in the country this year, their competitive excellence shows that in practice. That’s something I’ll take back with me to my practice.” 

In addition to getting hands-on experience in meeting rooms, St. Clair has been one of the Buckeyes’ most active peer recruiters alongside offensive tackle commit Carter Lowe. St. Clair was actively trying to help OSU land tight end Nate Roberts before his commitment last week and now has his eyes set on wideouts Dakorien Moore, Jaime Ffrench Jr. and Vernell Brown along with running back Jordon Davison

“It’s kind of stressful when you’ve put time into recruiting them and things like that, but I also know from being a recruit you want to go out and see the places you don’t get to see normally,” St. Clair said. “I totally understand it, but I know deep down, Ohio State is the place for them and you have to continue to show them why it’s the best place in the country. … As a coach, sometimes you can’t always connect to a player as well as a player can connect with a player. I just try to talk to them more about life, have a close relationship there and then talk to them about football.”

The 6-foot-3, 210-pound prospect is one of 13 commitments in OSU’s 2025 class, which currently ranks as the No. 1 overall group in 247Sports’ national rankings. He doesn’t envision the Buckeyes’ recruiting momentum will slow down any time soon.

“That’s just the expectation at Ohio State, you want to have the best class with the best team you can possibly have,” St. Clair said. “Me committing early and knowing I’d have to be the leader of this class and seeing where it’s trending, it’s a major blessing to become part of something like that.”

St. Clair had a front row seat during the spring to witness Ohio State’s wide receiver talent for the 2024 season, and it’s not lost on him that he’ll be playing with a majority of them for at least his freshman season.

“It takes a weight off your shoulders a bit knowing you can just put it in the vicinity of those receivers and they’re going to come down with it,” St. Clair said. “Just being able to watch Jeremiah Smith and some other guys I was involved in the recruiting business with, seeing them tear it up in practice is just different.”

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