Finding the right fit for your college football program isn't just about what happens on the field, but off it as well. Today, Ohio State added a key piece. How will that commitment impact the Buckeyes?
Ohio State landed a commitment from the nation's top-rated offensive tacke when Tampa Berkeley Prep five-star Nicholas Petit-Frere pledged his services to the Buckeyes during a ceremony at his high school on National Signing Day.
Let's take a look at what Petit-Frere — the No. 7 prospect overall in the Class of 2018 — brings to Columbus.
ON THE FIELD
At 6-foot-6 and 272-pounds, Petit-Frere is strong, athletic and has all of the physical traits to be a top-flight left tackle at the next level. He also possesses quick feet and the long arms required to play the position well.
“He's just been a tremendous player for us and an outstanding lineman,” Berkeley Prep head coach Dominick Ciao told Eleven Warriors. “He's a fierce run-blocker and an athletic pass-protector. He's been able to do everything for us, and he's just a relentless competitor.”
The Buccaneers struggled to a 5-4 record last season, but featured a dominant rushing attack behind Petit-Frere and averaged nearly 250 yards per game on the ground. He finished the year with 93 pancake blocks and was named first-team all-state, USA TODAY Sports All-American and MaxPreps All-American as a result.
“I think we ran the ball to his side 90 percent of the time,” Ciao said. “He's just that type of player you rely on. We've seen his potential of being a great college offensive lineman. His work ethic, his dedication and his commitment to being great will continue at the next level.”
Petit-Frere is a little leaner and doesn't have the typical weight of most offensive tackles, but has a solid frame on which to pack on muscle. He'll have no problem doing that in Ohio State's weight program.
All that said, it didn't stop him from being named a top performer and the most athletic lineman at the Under Armour All-America Game last month.
“I think — and he knows this — whenever he walks into a college program, his stars are zero,” Ciao said. “All that stuff, you can throw away. He understands that to compete. He doesn't get wrapped up in any of that stuff. Those are nice things and all that, but when he steps in the doors at the next level, it's a different level of competition and he's going to have to work hard at that.”
IN THE CLASS
Petit-Frere becomes the 25th member of Ohio State's Supreme '18 recruiting class, and joins Tennessee four-star Max Wray at the offensive tackle position.
His commitment helps the staff address arguably its biggest need this cycle, as starting left tackle Jamarco Jones is off to the National Football League and there wasn't a whole lot of depth behind him. In fact, you may recall the Buckeyes replaced Jones with Joshua Alabi — a converted defensive tackle — when he briefly went down with an injury against Iowa.
That means Petite-Friere and Wray could both make a push for playing time as true freshmen, though we'll see offensive guard Branden Bowen shift back to his natural positon this fall to avoid that this fall.
Ohio State also awaits a decision later this morning from Maryland four-star Rasheed Walker, which means offensive tackle could very quickly move from a position of need to a position of strength in a matter of a few hours. That's unlikely, though, as Penn State is widely considered the favorite to land his pledge.
Academics are always mentioned as an important factor in a prospect's recruitment, but Petit-Frere was intent on finding a school where he could excel on the football field and in the classroom.
Petit-Frere's academic achievements are many, which comes as no surprise given he attended a prestigious school like Berkeley Prep. He was named to the headmaster's list every year of high school — sporting a 3.8 grade-point average — and student body class president as a senior. He was also inducted into the National Honor Society inductee; was named a U.S. Army National Scholar Athlete; and earned numerous awards for volunteerism, which includes time spent at local retirement homes, leading neighborhood food drives and painting low-income schools.
Petit-Frere remains undecided on his major, but has interest in fields like psychology, political science and engineering law — all of which Ohio State offers.