Film Friday: Marc Nave’s Feet, Mentality Give Him Upside At Guard

By June 9, 2023 (3:00 pm)Football

Every Friday, Buckeye Sports Bulletin will be taking some time to break down Ohio State’s recruiting class of 2024 on film to see what each prospect brings to Columbus. Reviews will take place in the order in which prospects verbally committed to the Buckeyes.

One of Ohio State’s top priorities in the 2024 recruiting class was to restock its cupboard along the offensive line, as it appears the Buckeyes may ultimately take up to seven commitments along the front five.

Following a gap of nearly three months between verbal pledges, Toledo (Ohio) Central Catholic three-star interior offensive lineman Marc Nave Jr. gave Ohio State its second commitment of the cycle along the offensive line March 8.

The 6-5, 315-pound mammoth joined New Palestine, Ind. four-star lineman Ian Moore at the time, and his since seen Lakewood (Ohio) St. Edward twins Deontae and Devontae Armstrong, both four-stars at offensive tackle and interior offensive line, respectively, join the room of offensive line coach Justin Frye alongside him.

Ranked 614th in the composite, Nave is the second-lowest ranked among OSU commits. But what does his film say about his game? Let’s dive in. To view the full highlight reel this clips were pulled from, visit here:

This first clip showcases what might be Nave’s greatest strengths as an offensive linemen. He has the feet and aggression to excel as a run blocker, and showcases both those things on a standard outside zone run to his left here.

Nave delivers his strike at a great angle, sweeping around the play-side shoulder of the opposing nose guard, lined up at a tough angle on the outside shoulder of Nave’s teammate at center. From there he continues driving his feet through the initial contact, running his man upfield.

He finishes the block from there, driving his man into the ground for a pancake. The highlight reel above is littered with plays like this from Nave, and while his pad level and first steps could improve on a few of them, he has the makings of a vicious run blocker.

Nave’s highlight reel from his junior season is run-block heavy, and his pass blocking might be the area of his game that he could stand to improve the most.

The biggest positive of his pass blocking, again, goes back to his feet. He moves them well, staying agile and keeping his head on a swivel to pick up extra rushers. Here his assignment is clearly defined, but he shows good recognition in picking up blitzes when defensive fronts become more cloudy.

Where he needs to improve are in his pass sets and with his hands. He has a tendency to lean forward in his pass set, which exposes a blocker to a variety of rush moves from experienced defensive linemen. 

When players simply try to bullrush, as the defensive tackle does on this play, it works out but a club to Nave’s outside shoulder and a rip or swim move off of it — one of the main pass rush moves defensive linemen use — would knock him off balance if delivered with enough force.

As his hands go, he needs to deliver his strike earlier and keep his placement more to the inside so he can keep separation. Any time a defensive linemen is able to engage with a pass protector’s body, it’s a bad thing for the offensive side. 

These are all details that can be ironed out with proper development, and Nave has the physical tools to improve his game in this area.

Another positive about Nave’s feet and overall athleticism — it makes for a great pulling, lead-blocking guard. He gets out in front of his running backs easily and arrives at defenders with violence.

Here’s a great example on a counter play. Nave arrives on time to kick-out the opposing defensive end, exploding into his block with enough force to bowl the smaller lineman over.

There’s a couple technical things to clean up here. His pad level, both coming out of his stance at the snap of the ball and dropping his hips before making contact with the defender, could stand to be lower. Obviously it’s hard to argue with the result of his block, but against stronger players in college he’ll need to follow the old adage of getting his helmet under theirs.

Still, Nave’s combination of size and athleticism leave plenty of tools for Frye to build on that could make his ceiling much higher than his recruiting ranking suggests.

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