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New Five-Star: QB Tavien St. Clair moves into elite status

It’s been quite the rise for Ohio State quarterback commit Tavien St. Clair. The signal-caller from Bellefontaine (Ohio) High is the latest five-star at Rivals after our post-spring rankings update.

The 2025 prospect has a big arm, is accurate and throws the ball on the run well. St. Clair (6-foot-4, 228) has great size and all the intangibles that you look for in a leader of a big-time program. It’s become easy to see why coach Ryan Day wanted St. Clair over any other quarterback this cycle.

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RIVALS RANKINGS WEEK

MONDAY: Who should be No. 1?

TUESDAY: Five-Star Countdown

WEDNESDAY: New Rivals250 unveiled | Gorney goes position-by-position | Biggest risers

THURSDAY: New offensive position rankings released | QB rankings breakdown | RB rankings breakdown | WR/TE rankings breakdown | OL rankings breakdown

FRIDAY: New defensive position rankings released | DL rankings breakdown | LB rankings breakdown | DB rankings breakdown | ATH rankings breakdown

SATURDAY: New state rankings released | Who is No. 1 in each state?

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THE RECRUITING JOURNEY

Birm/Dotting the 'Eyes

St. Clair was 6-foot-2, 175 pounds as a freshman at Bellefontaine High School. He had no scholarship offers or major college interest. He had to battle for the starting job during his first year of high school. After winning the job halfway through the season he was able to finish the season strong.

He and his family thought that was a lot to build on. That’s when the first evaluation period hit. College coaches started coming through the school. Tavien’s dad, Marcus St. Clair, described the early recruiting process for the family.

"The coaches are starting to visit the school and he gets his first offer from Central Michigan,” Marcus said. “And we're like, 'Okay, well, this is real. Here we go. We can play college football.'

"So it starts there. Then these other offers come in. Tennessee, Pitt, Iowa State and some other ones come in. Then he has a chance to go camp with some of those schools and prove what they saw on film is legit, right? So there's a lot of anxiety. A lot of going into those camps. We'd go to those camps, and the camp ends, and we hear nothing but good things. Like we stand by this is, it's 100% committable. He's our guy in the ‘25 class. So it just starts to show you that the work you've put in is worth it. He needs to just keep working on his craft and perfecting it, because it's only going to get better."

Over the next year St. Clair put on another 30 pounds. More offers came in for the emerging quarterback. He had offers from Florida and Tennessee, among others. But he did not hold an offer from the home-state Buckeyes.

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At that time the Buckeyes told him they’d keep evaluating him and growing the relationship. Then St. Clair grew another two inches and added 30 pounds. So now at 6-foot-4, 230 pounds, he hit the road again ahead of his junior season. That summer he camped at Alabama, Mississippi State and LSU. Each school would have let him commit on the spot.

But not having that offer from Ohio State was always in the back of everyone’s mind.

"From a father's perspective you start with a ton of nerves, and then you start to see what you think is not disrespect, but just like borderline apathy towards a kid,” Marcus said.

“And it's like, 'All right, why don't these other schools come to the table?' You start to push that on him. Let's villainize this process and start to work your tail off and prove people wrong, you know? Ultimately, throughout the whole process, I've got to watch him have a good heart and have a good approach to everything and to stay humble. It's been a very proud moment for his parents for sure."

We know that it worked out and Ohio State offered a scholarship. After a couple visits to Columbus he verbally committed to the Buckeyes.

The ability to find motivation in every situation. That has been a constant for the quarterback.

THE DESIRE TO ALWAYS GET BETTER

Birm/DTE

Steady growth has been a theme of St. Clair's high school career. Talk to people around Ohio high school football. You’ll find out people think that each season they’ve seen him, he’s improved.

Marcus says that work ethic has always been present in Tavien. He takes that same approach to his school work. The future Buckeye doesn’t want to be embarrassed so he’s always looking to be as prepared as possible. That was something that he picked up from watching clips of Tom Brady on YouTube.

“I think the work ethic I have and the offseason training and things like that I've taken more seriously,” Tavien said. “Definitely more than my freshman year when I was playing baseball and I played basketball my sophomore year.

“Now that I'm just focused on football, I can train year-round. I'm a little limited with the weather here in Ohio but just to be able to lift and get stronger and things like that, I think I've seen steady growth. Just because I've continued to get stronger and learn and develop in the game as much as I can."

Now it makes sense why St. Clair was a fixture at Ohio State during spring practices. He plans to enroll early at the school but he also wants to hit the ground running. He has been in plenty of meetings with new offensive coordinator Chip Kelly. He will be well prepared for what he’s walking into after enrolling at Ohio State in January.

BUCKING THE TREND

Joe Burrow was the last Ohio-born quarterback the Buckeyes signed. That was the 2015 recruiting class. Braxton Miller and Cardale Jones were the last Ohio natives to sign with the Buckeyes and play meaningful snaps for Ohio State. Miller and Jones were in the class of 2011.

It means something to St. Clair to be the first quarterback since then to join Ohio State from in-state.

"It's big for me, really, just from the fan standpoint," he said. "I grew up watching every single Buckeye game just hoping and praying and wishing for the opportunity to get that chance to play for the Buckeyes. Now that it has presented itself to be that way, I'm just gonna take it head on and really just take it by the horns and run with it.

“To be able to be one of the few ones that have been able to do it, it's crazy to think about. We've had some really good players in Ohio. But it's also a major blessing as well. That really just is a testament to the players in Ohio. I think that there'll be more to come after this."

Ohio is seen as behind the curve when it comes to producing skill players that are capable of being Buckeyes. Part of that is the inability to train outdoors year-round because of the weather in Ohio. Another part is a rule barring high school football players in the state from playing 7-on-7.

That rule was changed this spring. St. Clair and many other players in the state immediately linked up with teams to get reps in by playing 7-on-7.

It should be no surprise that St. Clair jumped at the chance to sharpen his skills against some of the nation’s best players. He wasn’t as sharp as he’d like during his first time playing 7-on-7 but he knows it’ll get better with time and work. That’s the same approach he took to improving his game throughout high school.

Now he’s a five-star.

"I'm just super excited and super blessed to be able to be in that position to be ranked as a five-star,” St. Clair said. “It's a great and major blessing for me and my family. It's a great opportunity for sure."

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