Ohio State went into the weekend before the February 7 signing day needing to land an offensive tackle, and they were in the thick of it with the nation’s best prospect at that position — Nicholas Petit-Frere (Berkely Prep/Tampa, FL).
Petit-Frere took his time with his decision, using up each of his five official visits in a deliberate effort to make the correct decision. In October, he visited Notre Dame. The next month it was Michigan. In January, he visited Alabama and then Florida. The final weekend of official visits is when he made it to Ohio State, and Urban Meyer and his coaching staff knew they needed to hit a home run.
Ultimately, Petit-Frere told Meyer the day before signing day that he wanted to become a Buckeye, which solved a major problem for Ohio State, and also sent a bunch of Buckeye coaches hoopin’ and hollerin’.
Meyer gave credit to defensive coordinator Greg Schiano, but also credited Petit-Frere for being the most thorough prospect he has ever recruited.
“Yeah, well Greg Schiano was knee deep in that one, as well as Greg Studrawa,” Meyer said. “And it was one that this had been going on for a couple years. He’s the most thorough evaluator I’ve ever recruited. From A to Z, we sat in my office for about two hours and I had him go through each program and he kind of volunteered all kinds of information I’ve never quite heard.”
Petit-Frere told Meyer that one of the major factors that swayed him was the relationship that players had with the coaches, citing J.K. Dobbins’ closeness to strength coach Mickey Marotti.
Relationships are always key in recruiting, and Petit-Frere had a previous relationship with Schiano, who spent time helping out at Berkeley Prep for a couple of years after his stint with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers came to an end.
“I have a lot of, obviously, a lot of friends down there,” Schiano said on signing day. “I said to one of the guys I worked with, ‘That kid right there, he is going to be a special, special player.’ Now, he was probably 6’4″, 205 pounds at the time. Heck, he came to our camp, he was 6’6”, 227. This is kid who has committed his life to becoming a big time Division I offensive tackle. And that kind of work ethic, usually things work out.”
Schiano saw Petit-Frere early in the process, and there is still a long way to go, but the expectations are very high.
“Obviously he’s got to come here and perform, but if you’re a betting person, bet on this guy to have a great college career on and off the field,” Meyer said.
Schiano’s scouting report echoes Meyer’s. Nicholas Petit-Frere is the prototype in more ways than one.
“I think he’s incredibly athletic for a man of his size,” Schiano said. “He plays with the kind of four-to-six, A-to-B attitude that we preach here all the time. When you watch his tape you just see it over and over. You don’t have to watch a highlight tape to see that.
“That coupled with his intellect. He’s one of the smarter guys that I’ve ever been around and he’s a 17- or 18-year-old-kid. So, he’s a neat guy. I’m excited to get him up here because he’s not only a great player, but someone that I care a great amount about.”
[Nicholas Petit-Frere photo courtesy 247Sports.com]