Good afternoon, comrades. I have officially decided to come out of retirement after a long month and a half or so since my last article. Today, I will be absolutely fangirling over National Signing Day, but specifically, the couple recruits Ohio State (best team in the world) have brought in since the early AM.
The first signing early today was a YUUUGGGEEE recruit out of Tampa, Florida, named Nicholas Petit-Frere. Petit-Frere is the number seven overall player in the country and the number ONE offensive tackle. He is officially the 25th member of Ohio State’s 2018 recruiting class and is the third offensive line commit in the class, joining four-star center Matthew Jones and four-star tackle Max Wray.
The Buckeyes needed to hit a home run on that visit to fill a major need in this recruiting class, and they did, swinging a recruitment that looked like it was trending toward the Tampa product staying home and picking Florida. Ohio State’s Greg Schiano played a major role in determining if Petit-Frere would pick the Buckeyes or not because Schiano was a volunteer coach at Berkeley Prep, where Petit-Frere plays. That’s not a deciding factor here, but there’s a familiarity. Schiano’s sons played with Petit-Frere at Berkeley Prep, which probably helped as well. There was speculation going around that Schiano was going to leave the Buckeyes to become the new DC of the New England Patriots. Schiano squashed these rumors today and told everyone he was staying put, which probably had a lot to do with making him a buckeye.
He fits the profile of a lineman who could perhaps play early, but Ohio State’s roster is constructed in a way in which that shouldn’t be necessary. He’ll have at least a year to develop and most likely get some playing time early in the season when Ohio State is running away with some games. You may be asking, “so if he doesn’t need to play early, then why was this such a major decision?” Take a gander down the line and see that Ohio State is very light on tackles in general. Especially light when you start talking about who could play in 2019 or 2020. I realize that that is a while from now, but you want to sign players now, develop them and have them ready to go a year or two down the road.
I’m sure everyone was absolutely devastated when Jackson Carman picked Clemson over Ohio State. But the Buckeyes stayed in there and hammered Petit-Frere until they were able to grab him. Petit-Frere is the third-highest rated player Urban Meyer has signed at Ohio State behind only Noah Spence and Nick Bosa. He is also the highest-rated offensive lineman the Buckeyes have signed in the Meyer era. Check out Urban Meyer’s reaction when he found out Petit-Frere was coming to Columbus:
— Buckeye Videos+ (@BuckeyeVideos) February 7, 2018
The Buckeyes didn’t have to wait very long until their next recruit, Javontae Jean-Baptiste committed to Ohio State. Jean-Baptiste, the number 219 overall player in the country and the number 16 outside linebacker and is the 26th commitment in Ohio State’s 2018 recruiting class. The Bergen Catholic product is the second player from New Jersey in this class, joining four-star defensive lineman Tyler Friday.
The Buckeyes offered him, visited him and even hosted him to pull him in. Things were looking 100% golden for Jean-Baptiste to land with OSU until fellow B1G team Nebraska started to pull him away from the Buckeyes. Ohio State went back all-in on Jean-Baptiste late with a visit from Urban Meyer and Greg Schiano on Feb. 1. That sealed this for the Buckeyes and he committed this afternoon.
My guess is that he will be moved to defensive end. This is because the Buckeyes already have three linebackers in the class (not including him). They also only have two defensive ends in the class (obviously not including him, either). In addition, Ohio State’s Defensive Line Coach, Larry Johnson, made a trip out to see him and probably talked to him about the possibility of a position switch. Either way, he is a stud and I can’t wait to watch him go off. Don’t get too held down by what position Jean-Baptiste will eventually play. You can almost think of him as an athlete commit and a dangerous one. He is 6-foot-5 and 200 and ran a 4.7-second 40-yard dash pounds at a Nike camp before his senior season, which is just impressive as all hell.
Jean-Baptiste played a lot of different schemes in High School. In his game tape, you can see him playing with his hand on the ground as a traditional rush end, a stand-up end, linebacker, and even safety sometimes. Just know that he’s versatile, which makes him an intriguing prospect for Ohio State. If you look at his long frame, he’s a guy who can turn into a physical beast once he gets into Ohio State’s strength and conditioning program. I would categorize this commitment as a “best available” type of get for Ohio State.