We conclude the Better Know a Buckeye series with its 26th and final installment in 2018. Here, we profile Nicholas Petit-Frere, an offensive lineman from Tampa.
- Size: 6-5/288
- Position: OT
- Hometown: Tampa, FL
- School: Berkeley Prep
- 247 Composite: ★★★★
- National Ranking: 7
- Position Ranking: 1 (OT)
- State Ranking: 3 (FL)
- Under Armour All-American
Petit-Frere had a unique recruitment. Urban Meyer even called him the most thorough evaluator of schools that he ever recruited. Ohio State, a thorough evaluator of talent itself, identified Petit-Frere as one of the top offensive tackles in the 2018 recruiting cycle and started recruiting him early in 2016. However, Petit-Frere chose to be tight-lipped through his recruitment and saved most of his evaluation until the late fall and early winter. A last-minute recruiting blitz from Ohio State, spearheaded by Greg Schiano, was enough to get Petit-Frere to sign with Ohio State on National Signing Day over Alabama, Florida, Michigan, and Notre Dame.
I retell this story below. I offer a scouting report for the No. 1 offensive tackle in the country and the No. 7 overall prospect. I suggest, despite his credentials, we may not see much of Nicholas Petit-Frere in 2018 and a redshirt is most likely this year. I close with some senior-year highlight film for the reader to watch at the end of the feature.
Petit-Frere is the top offensive tackle prospect in 2018 and the crown jewel of Ohio State's recruiting class. He's not exactly a diamond-in-the-rough prospect either. Ohio State knew of him early into the 2018 recruiting cycle through Greg Schiano, who enrolled his children at Berkeley Prep when he was the head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Ohio State's scholarship offer in the spring of Petit-Frere's sophomore year was among the first he received, preceding Florida by a week and predated only by Michigan from the previous October. However, much of Petit-Frere's recruitment operated at a low simmer for several reasons.
More Nicholas Petit-Frere at 11W
One factor was Petit-Frere's own decision-making. He chose to keep things quiet through much of his recruitment as he focused on important matters on and off the field. He made a few visits in the summer after his junior year to Alabama, Auburn, and Ohio State. He took two unofficial visits to Alabama and Notre Dame in the spring of 2017 and visited Michigan, North Carolina, and Ohio State that June. However, Petit-Frere's recruitment only kicks into high gear late into the cycle. He took official visits to Notre Dame and Michigan in October and November and focused most of his energies on his recruitment after the early signing period.
Jackson Carman was the other reason Petit-Frere's recruitment was quiet from the perspective of the Ohio State fan. Petit-Frere is the No. 1 offensive tackle prospect in 2018 but Carman was No. 2 and from Fairfield, Ohio. It made him higher priority for Ohio State's coaching staff, especially as Petit-Frere kept his recruitment in neutral, all things considered. When Carman shocked Ohio State's coaching staff by signing with Clemson during the early signing period, it led Ohio State's coaches to invest all their energies into courting Petit-Frere into Ohio State's recruiting class.
It started with an immediate visit from Greg Schiano and Greg Studrawa to Petit-Frere as soon as the recruiting dead period ended in mid-January. There, both assistants were able to convince Petit-Frere to schedule an official visit to Columbus to see Ohio State's program one more time. What followed was an eleventh hour recruiting blitz for Alabama, Florida, and Ohio State in which Petit-Frere visited each on successive weekends.
Ohio State had the last word on Feb. 2, just five days before National Signing Day. That worked out for the Buckeyes.
Nicholas Petit-Frere signed with Ohio State on Feb. 7 as the 26th and final member of what would become Ohio State's full 2018 recruiting class. He chose Ohio State over competing offers from Alabama, Florida, Michigan, and Notre Dame.
It's any wonder Ohio State landed Petit-Frere, given various factors working against Ohio State. For one, Greg Schiano was the focal point in Ohio State's recruitment of Petit-Frere. Schiano himself was subject of multiple coaching mill rumors, including Tennessee (as head coach) and New England (as defensive coordinator). Had Schiano left Ohio State, it seems unlikely Petit-Frere signs with Ohio State even if Schiano was never going to be Petit-Frere's position coach.
Further, Florida was always the long-running favorite to land Petit-Frere during his recruitment. Ohio State's offer to Petit-Frere preceded Florida's offer by a week, but the Gators were on the "ground floor" of Petit-Frere's recruitment as much as Michigan or Ohio State. Ohio State's coaches had to overcome a lot not just to get Petit-Frere to come to Columbus but to turn down Florida as well.
Ultimately, the factors that led recruitniks to project Petit-Frere to Florida were the factors that mattered the least to his recruitment. Distance was no concern, as Petit-Frere explained after his decision, and he liked the overall vibe he got from Ohio State's program every time he visited.
— Ohio State Football (@OhioStateFB) February 7, 2018
WHERE HE EXCELS
Petit-Frere would certainly pass the "look test" for an offensive tackle. At 6-5 and 288 pounds, Petit-Frere looks the part of an elite offensive tackle and importantly carries no "bad weight" that would compromise his flexibility at tackle as he matures in a college strength and conditioning program.
His game film is astounding, even controlling for the selection effect that we see in "highlight" films (i.e. "highlight" films don't show garbage play). It's impossible not to like everything. He fires off low, makes first contact, drives through defenders and plays "through the whistle" until a defender is ultimately planted in the turf 10 yards down the field.
It's easy to see why Petit-Frere is the No. 1 offensive tackle prospect in the country, a five-star at the position, and why the top programs in the country would've taken his verbal commitment at any time, without reservation.
MUST WORK ON
This section will fumble for knocks on Petit-Frere's credentials and may make mountains of mole hills for the sake of filling out this feature. It's tough to find too much that's negative about a five-star No. 1 offensive tackle prospect.
The easiest thing to note here is Petit-Frere is a more polished run-blocker than he is a pass-protector. That's true of any offensive tackle since most high school football is run-heavy. However, Petit-Frere will need to demonstrate comparable proficiency on the pass as he shows in run plays.
Petit-Frere is talented enough to see the field right away, but Ohio State does have solid offensive line depth that may make Petit-Frere a redshirt in 2018. Either way, expect to see him sparingly in 2018 if he plays at all.
Here is a senior-year film of Nicholas Petit-Frere.