Here's what Justin Frye and Ohio State football are getting in 2024 OL Marc Nave Jr.

Colin Gay
The Columbus Dispatch

Greg Dempsey saw a “mammoth” in Marc Nave Jr. from his first moments as a freshman football player at Toledo Central Catholic. 

“Obviously his size stuck out to you instantaneously,” Dempsey, the Central Catholic football coach, told The Dispatch. 

But then he saw how well Nave could move for his size. He also noticed how quickly Nave took to the weight room and dedicated himself to conditioning, buying in like “a fish to water.” 

According to Dempsey, that was when Nave started becoming the player that would later join Ohio State football’s 2024 recruiting class.

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“I think he always had the athleticism for a big kid,” Dempsey said. “I think it just became enhanced by becoming lighter and more fit and stronger. He’s one of those guys that just came in and transformed his body. He still looks huge, but he looks so good with his size now.” 

Starting for the Irish as a 355-pound sophomore, Nave, Dempsey recalled, showed athleticism, power and balance. 

But after that season, Nave’s work wasn’t done. He dropped down to 325 pounds and developed more speed while still showcasing the same balance and punch in both pass protection and run blocking as a junior. 

“He is a punishing run blocker,” Dempsey said. “But now he can handle his pass protection and reaction to everything a defense can throw at you these days. He’s agile enough to adjust his body in the middle of a play to take on the changing look that happens after the snap. 

“You know what he is? He’s really a technician. He really works on his trade of being an offensive lineman a lot. He works on stance and knee bend. His punch, his hands snapping and getting first contact on somebody is something he works on a ton.” 

That dedication, Dempsey said, continued into what Nave eats and how he hydrates as he continues to mold into a future Division I offensive guard, currently sitting between 312-315 pounds.

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“It’s not something where he’s like on a diet,” Dempsey said. “It’s his lifestyle now. He’s committed his lifestyle to prepare himself physically to do what he’s capable of doing at the highest level.” 

Marc Nave Jr. turned himself into a 'great football player'

That commitment earned Nave offers from in-state programs like Akron, Cincinnati and Toledo. He garnered attention from Kentucky,  Purdue and Auburn.

Ohio State offensive line coach Justin Frye told Dempsey he would do his due diligence, promising the Central Catholic coach he would watch all of Nave’s film and see if he was worth an offer.

Once Ohio State’s offer came in for Nave in February, Dempsey knew a decision was imminent. 

“When that happened,” Dempsey said, “I was pretty confident recruiting was going to end quite shortly for him.” 

Indeed it did. Nave picked the Buckeyes, joining Indiana four-star lineman Ian Moore in the 2024 class. 

At Ohio State, Dempsey said, Nave will go up against some of the best talent in the country and take coaching by “one of the best staffs in the country.” With that combination, Dempsey knows the path Nave could be on. 

“You stay level-headed and Ohio State’s proven, as we all saw last week down at the results of the combine, if you keep doing what you’re supposed to be doing,” Dempsey said, “they’re going to have you in a position to have great opportunities at the end of a career there.” 

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With one year left before taking that next step, all Dempsey wants for Nave to do is continue what got programs interested in him in the first place, things that make him an even better player. 

“It’s just like anything else — the more you work on something, the better you’re going to get at it,” Dempsey said. “The better you make your body — the bigger, the faster, the stronger you can make it — you’re going to be able to do it even at a higher level. He’s turned himself into a great football player.” 


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