This weekend is the final opportunity for prospects in the 2018 recruiting class to take official visits before National Signing Day on Feb. 7. As Ohio State works to secure the country’s top-ranked recruiting class and maintain its spot ahead of Georgia on top of the pile, it will host at least two of its most important remaining visitors in 2018.
First and foremost, Nicholas Petit-Frere finally will make his long-awaited visit to Columbus, Ohio, beginning Friday. Petit-Frere is the country’s No. 1 tackle prospect on the 247Sports composite, a 5-star recruit and ranked within the country’s top 10 overall prospects. His final-5 list reads like a who’s who of college football blue bloods — Ohio State is in the mix with Alabama, Notre Dame, Michigan and Florida. Petit-Frere (Berkeley Prep/Tampa, Fla.) has taken official visits to each of the four other programs in his top group, giving the Buckeyes and Urban Meyer the final chance to woo the 5-star.
Petit-Frere would fill a major hole in Ohio State’s 2018 recruiting class. The Buckeyes have been actively searching for tackles, including Petit-Frere and 4-star Maryland native Rasheed Walker, and would be thrilled to land either one or both of them to round out the group. Florida is widely regarded as the leader for Petit-Frere, but his recruitment could have some intrigue left. Michigan is seemingly out of it, but beyond that? Notre Dame looked out of the race after offensive line coach Harry Hiestand departed for the Chicago Bears, but the Irish have not gone away. Alabama has gone from feeling confident on its odds following Petit-Frere’s Jan. 19 official visit to being on the outside looking in. The Buckeyes might be going toe to toe with the Gators, and they have the final chance to woo Petit-Frere.
Joining Petit-Frere, and from much closer to home, will be Dayton (Ohio) Dunbar running back Tavion Thomas. Thomas recently de-committed from Oklahoma after a longstanding commitment to the Sooners and certainly looks like he’s trending hard toward landing in the Buckeyes class on National Signing Day. The 6-foot-2, 234-pound running back will arrive on Ohio State’s campus late Saturday evening, after Dunbar’s basketball game with Trotwood-Madison (Ohio).
Thomas is only rated as a 3-star prospect, but he holds offers from the likes of Ohio State, Oklahoma, Alabama, Georgia, Michigan, LSU, Texas, USC and many of the country’s other top programs. He is a bruising running back who will possibly join an already impressive crop of running backs in the Buckeyes class. Four-star Tennessee running back Master Teague is already enrolled and with the Buckeyes program, and 4-star signee Brian Snead from Florida will join him in June. The Buckeyes also landed highly regarded athlete Jaelen Gill as an H-back, but he has the potential to take carries out of the backfield.
The upcoming official visit weekend will be crucial in determining how Ohio State’s class stacks up and is regarded at the end of the day. Landing Petit-Frere would be the crown jewel of the Ohio State recruiting class and would nearly guarantee that the Buckeyes beat out Georgia and hang on to the country’s top-ranked recruiting class, something that has been a priority for coach Urban Meyer and Co. for years.