The Buckeyes lose two starters off their O-line, making Petit-Frere a fascinating project.
The top available offensive lineman and the second-best prospect up for grabs on National Signing Day announced his decision Wednesday morning. Five-star offensive tackle Nicholas Petit-Frere is off to Ohio State, capping one of the most uncertain high-profile recruitment processes of the 2018 cycle.
Petit-Frere was one of four offensive tackle recruits in this year’s 247Sports Composite rankings to garner five-star ratings. (The three others are Georgia signee Cade Mays, Clemson signee Jackson Carman and Oklahoma signee Brey Walker.) He was named a first-team All-American by MaxPreps and participated in the Under Armour All-American Game in Orlando earlier this month. Petit-Frere “is the most athletic lineman in the 2018 class and he is just now scratching the surface of his potential,” 247Sports recruiting analyst Luke Stampini wrote in highlighting him as one of the top performers at the event.
The Buckeyes were squarely in the mix for Carman, who at the time was the nation’s top tackle prospect, during the early signing period. The Ohio native made waves when he revealed after committing to Clemson that Tigers coach Dabo Swinney had cast doubt upon Urban Meyer’s longevity as Ohio State’s head coach. As it turns out, there will be even more continuity than expected in Columbus: SI’s Bruce Feldman reported that Ohio State defensive coordinator Greg Schiano is staying on staff after several reports earlier this week connected him with open positions on the New England Patriots’ staff. Schiano played a key role in landing Petit-Frere, who made a point of not revealing which way he was leaning in the lead-up to signing day.
The final decision went over pretty well with Meyer:
The Buckeyes lose left tackle Jamarco Jones and All-America center Billy Price to the NFL this year, and while Petit-Frere needs to pack weight onto his lanky frame, he is expected to become a cornerstone of the Ohio State line with time.