Ohio State landed a commitment from 5-star tackle Nicholas Petit-Frere on Wednesday via a nationally televised announcement in the 10 a.m. block on ESPNU. Petit-Frere, a product of Tampa (Fla.) Berkeley Prep, chose Ohio State over four other finalists — Alabama, Florida, Michigan and Notre Dame — on National Signing Day. The Buckeyes now have 25 commits or signees in their 2018 recruiting class.
Petit-Frere had one of the more wide-open recruitments in the country until the final days of his process. Sources at Ohio State, Florida, Alabama and Notre Dame expressed cautious optimism or confidence until the final days of his decision-making process. Ohio State did not begin to trend as a realistic option for Ohio State until Tuesday, the day before he announced his decision.
Ohio State hosted Petit-Frere for an official visit on Feb. 2, the final weekend before National Signing Day. It was his fifth and final official visit, following trips to Notre Dame (Oct. 21), Michigan (Nov. 25), Alabama (Jan. 19) and Florida (Jan. 26). Sources close to the recruitment indicated that Ohio State did well on the visit to pitch the academic and off-field opportunities to Petit-Frere and his mother, building on top of an opportunity for early playing time. Petit-Frere also has a strong relationship with Ohio State defensive coordinator Greg Schiano.
The 247Sports composite rankings have tabbed Petit-Frere as a 5-star prospect and the No. 1 tackle in the country, ahead of other top prospects and Ohio State recruiting targets such as Jackson Carman, Cade Mays and Rasheed Walker. He is the No. 7 overall prospect in the nation and the No. 3 prospect in Florida. Petit-Frere is Ohio State’s third commitment from a 5-star prospect, joining defensive back Tyreke Johnson and defensive tackle Taron Vincent. All three prospects played their high school football in Florida, although Vincent is a Maryland native. Petit-Frere, a 6-foot-6, 272-pound prospect, is now Ohio State’s highest-ranked commit in the 2018 class.
Petit-Frere joins 4-star prospects Max Wray and Matthew Jones as offensive linemen in the 2018 recruiting class. The 5-star prospect is expected to have an opportunity for early playing time at Ohio State. Rising senior Isaiah Prince will slot in as Ohio State’s left tackle, but starting right tackle is open. Sophomore Thayer Munford, redshirt juniors Brandon Bowen and Joshua Alabi, redshirt senior Malcolm Pridgeon and Petit-Frere are expected to compete for playing time in the tackle two-deep.
Landing Petit-Frere gives Ohio State a much stronger chance to hang on to the No. 1 spot in the 247Sports composite team recruiting rankings. Ohio State has been going back and forth with Georgia during the last several weeks working to land the top spot. Georgia targets such as Tyson Campbell, Quay Walker and Otis Reese are expected to announce on National Signing Day shortly after Petit-Frere and how the Dawgs finish with that trio could tell the tale of Ohio State’s odds to stay atop the rankings. Ohio State still awaits a decision from Maryland tackle Walker.