It was a long-awaited moment, but former elite 2018 recruit Nicholas Petit-Frere (Tampa, Fla.) finally made his first appearance in the starting lineup this past weekend against Nebraska.
A standout offensive lineman for Berkeley Prep HS down in the Sunshine State, Petit-Frere was a top-10 player in his recruiting cycle and the No. 1-rated tackle. After backing up Branden Bowen last fall, he opened Saturday’s contest on the right side for the Buckeyes.
“Overall, I think it was a good start,” said the 6-foot-5, 310-pound behemoth. “There is always stuff to improve on and a lot of things I want to get more comfortable with, but guys on the line are becoming tighter as a unit. We aren’t at the level we want to be yet, but we’ll keep working hard in practice.”
The third-year sophomore still played in all 14 games last year, seeing extended snaps vs. Florida Atlantic, Indiana, Cincinnati, Miami (Ohio), Rutgers, Northwestern and Maryland. He earned Academic All-Big Ten honors in the classroom.
He ramped up the work this past offseason during quarantine, while living back at home with his mother, albeit a few challenging dynamics. His mom’s entire food/grocery plan changed immensely with Nicholas trying to add a little weight, and he accidentally pull a gutter off the side of her house while during training.
“I was trying to find a place to do pull-ups because I couldn’t go to gyms,” Petit-Frere said with a chuckle. “I thought my room could support me, but I was mistaken by that. A few things were broken in that first week.”
Now, he’s back in Columbus looking to help Ohio State win its first road game of the season come Saturday night in Happy Valley. The Nittany Lions feature one of the league’s top defensive ends in Shaka Toney, who dominated Indiana’s front last week en route to seven tackles and two sacks.
“It’s about confidence for me at this position,” Petit-Frere mentioned. “I feel better about myself this year and more physical with everything that I do. A lot of work has gone into this. I’m very blessed and thankful for the opportunity to be here alongside these other guys.”