Player Capsule: Marshal Nathe
Position: Offensive Lineman
Eligibility: Redshirt freshman
Weight: 288 pounds
2016 season quick review: Nathe redshirted last season.
SunDevilSource.com analysis: The earliest commitment in Arizona State's 2015 class, Nathe pledged the Sun Devils out of Peoria Centennial High School. An ACL tear subsequently ended his senior season before it started, and he was limited in spring ball as an early enrollee with the Sun Devils in 2016. He looks fully recovered from that now in terms of his movement skills, and has really improved his physique, with a lot more dense muscularity and reduced body fat percentage.
Nathe spent his redshirt season with the scout team and was effectively the fourth center on the roster, with then-senior Stephon McCray starting the season opener at the position before moving to guard. Returners A.J. McCollum and Tyler McClure are seniors in 2017 and competing for the starting job.
We view Nathe as one of the team's top under-the-radar talents. At most, there are only few other returning third-team players with as much or more potential than Nathe. He plays with impressive balance aided by a wide base and ideal posture. He's very stout with above average quickness and handles strength into the A gap relatively effectively in immediate post-snap situations without yielding ground. He does a very good job of extending engagement at the point of attack in a neutralizing fashion. His length and flexibility are both good for a center in the Pac-12.
Additional strength will help Nathe be able to move defensive linemen off anchors in the run game, but he has the foundational set up to enable it and plays with good leverage, accessing the big muscles in his lower half. A lot of his subsequent development will be on the mental side, identifying and communicating key landmarks pre-snap, recognizing blitzes and executing protections, and working in concert with fellow linemen as a leader of the group.
Nathe has better mobility than McCollum, and some physical tools that are further along than McClure at the same stage. As a result, given his youth he projects to perhaps have the highest ceiling of the trio working at center.
Projected depth chart status: Entering fall camp Nathe will work with the third-team at center behind seniors A.J. McCollum and Tyler McClure. He currently appears to be the odds-on favorite to be the team's starter at the position in 2018 as a third-year sophomore if he has a strong year of development.