With college football’s second national signing day coming Wednesday, the vibe was strong that Ohio State will add to its 2018 recruiting class a coveted five-star tackle who could help them maintain their standing as the No. 1 class in the country.'

Nicholas Petit-Frere, from Berkeley Prep in Tampa, Florida, was projected by Bucknuts recruiting analyst Bill Kurelic as a probable Ohio State signee. Kurelic made the projection Tuesday afternoon, seeing Petit-Frere picking the Buckeyes over Florida, Alabama, Notre Dame and Michigan.

Of course, the final word must come from Petit-Frere, who is expected to announce his choice in the 10 a.m. hour Wednesday on ESPNU. But Dominic Ciao, Petit-Frere’s coach, told The Dispatch that his player would let all coaching staffs involved know of his decision well before that so as not to keep them hanging.

 

There also appears to be a strong chance that four-star defensive end Javontae Jean-Baptiste of Bergen Catholic in Oradell, New Jersey, could join OSU’s class. The Buckeyes were thought to have backed off from him a couple weeks ago, but now Kurelic and other analysts see OSU as the favorite over Nebraska and Texas A&M.

Four-star offensive tackle Rasheed Walker of Waldorf, Maryland, also plans to announce his choice on Wednesday. Penn State and Ohio State are considered to be his finalists.

OSU coach Urban Meyer and his staff made landing Petit-Frere and/or Walker a priority, especially after Ohio’s top prospect, five-star tackle Jackson Carman of Fairfield, chose Clemson on Dec. 20, the first signing day.

Interestingly, Petit-Frere is considered the No. 1 tackle prospect in the nation according to the 247sports composite of the major recruiting service rankings, ahead of Carman, and the No. 7 overall prospect.

The decisions by Petit-Frere, Walker and Jean-Baptiste promise to spice what otherwise was going to be an anticlimactic signing day for the Buckeyes. They secured 21 players on the first-ever early signing day in December, and defensive end Tyreke Smith of Cleveland Heights added his name to the class in January.

Since then, Ohio State secured commitments from four-star defensive lineman Tyler Friday of Don Bosco Prep in Ramsey, New Jersey, and from  three-star receiver Chris Olave of Mission Hills High School in San Marcos, Calif. They both are expected to sign on Wednesday.

tmay@dispatch.com

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