Nicholas Petit-Frere moving up on Ohio State's offensive line
Nicholas Petit-Frere apparently is starting to live up to his five-star prospect billing as Ohio State swings through the midpoint of preseason.
The media was allowed to watch the first 30 minutes of practice Saturday, what amounted to pregame warmups before the Buckeyes staged their last major scrimmage of camp. Petit-Frere, a freshman offensive tackle from Tampa, Florida, appeared to be the No. 2 right tackle behind returning starter Isaiah Prince as line coach Greg Studrawa put the linemen through drills, though Petit-Frere still bore the black helmet stripe symbolic of a newcomer not yet considered a full-fledged Buckeye.
Backup right tackle is where coaches brought along Thayer Munford as a freshman last season, and he is now the starter at left tackle. Coming in, Munford didn’t have near the credentials as Petit-Frere.
Out of Berkeley Prep, Petit-Frere was first among tackle prospects nationally according to the 247Sports composite of the major recruiting rankings. He didn’t commit until Feb. 7, boosting the class’ overall final rating to No. 2 in the 247Sports composite behind Georgia.
The media was ushered out before the scrimmage started, so how Petit-Frere and the rest of the offensive line fared wasn’t known.
No coaches, including acting head coach Ryan Day, or players were available for interviews afterward. Ohio State has kept the the team off-limits from interviews since Meyer was placed on paid administrative leave pending an investigation into his knowledge of domestic-abuse allegations against fired receivers coach Zach Smith.
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During warmups, Michael Jordan, the starting left guard the past two seasons, saw considerable time at center with the starters, which had Prince at right tackle, Demetrius Knox at right guard, Malcolm Pridgeon at left guard and Munford at left tackle.
Joshua Alabi was working as the backup to Munford. Insiders suggested he probably is the swing person for either tackle spot while Petit-Frere continues to progress.
On defense, the mother of freshman defensive end Tyreke Smith announced on social media her excitement in seeing her son have the black stripe removed from his helmet after the scrimmage. A couple of other freshmen also had their black stripes removed: tight end Jeremy Ruckert and running back Master Teague III.
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The scrimmage marked the end of the formal preseason camp, which meant players would be checking out of the nearby hotel where they have been sequestered since Aug. 6.
Fall semester starts Tuesday.