Gators looking to get back in the mix for 5* Tampa Berkeley Prep OL Nicholas Petit-Frere


When it comes to his recruitment, Nicholas Petit-Frere isn’t feeling the pressure – which seems to directly conflict with the mentality of the majority of recruits and Division I football coaches.

Ranked a five-star prospect and the No. 3 offensive tackle in the 2018 class by 247Sports, Petit-Frere is keeping his options open with Signing Day quickly approaching.

He’s already taken official visits to Michigan and Notre Dame, and a strong relationship with Wolverines offensive line/tight ends coach Greg Frey could have him wind up in Ann Arbor, but Petit-Frere continues to evaluate the landscape before locking into arguably the biggest decision of his life.

“It was good. I enjoyed it, it was a great game. Although they lost, they all played super hard. It was an amazing game to watch, one of the most rivaled college football games,” Petit-Frere said of his Nov. 25 visit to Michigan, where the Wolverines fell 31-20 to Ohio State.

And Petit-Frere had an opportunity to stop by Michigan’s practice prior to the team’s 26-19 loss to South Carolina, although coach Jim Harbaugh was barred from interacting with Tampa native.

However, despite being recruited by several premier programs, Petit-Frere is adamant he doesn’t have a leader, and his decision will likely come down to the wire.

“There’s been a good amount of people trying to make a push right now,” he said. “I’m still just trying to go through the process right now, try to eliminate some people.”

Just two hours north for Petit-Frere lies a school that contains the ideal mix of top-notch academics and athletics that the Berkeley Prep prospect seeks: the University of Florida.

He had a solid connection with former UF offensive line coach Brad Davis and several graduate assistants, but Florida has ground to make up if they hope to land one of the top prospects in the state.

“I’ve talked to (UF offensive line coach) John Hevesy and coach Dan Mullen,” Petit-Frere said. “Coach Hevesy was just trying to tell me who he was, and just how the program is and what they were bringing to Mississippi State and what they were keeping at Florida, stuff like that.”

A Florida native, Petit-Frere is aware of Mullen’s prior success in Gainesville, and he’s prepared to give him a fair evaluation before making any decision.

“He’s a good coach, so just going to keep learning, just keep going through recruiting process, see where it takes me,” he said. “I still haven’t scheduled any official visits in January, but I’m getting closer to that process.”

Simply put, Petit-Frere continues to take the process a day at a time, enjoying the week at the Under Armour All-America game and taking his mind off his current recruitment. He feels he has something to prove, however, and plans to spend the week challenging himself and asserting his position as one of the nation’s rising tackle prospects.

Yet it’s no secret about what he’s looking for in a program, and whichever school lands him will have to convince him they’ll turn him into an elite player for years to come.

“A school where I feel like I can be successful,” Petit-Frere said bluntly. “Not only football-wise, but academically as well.”


  1. Watching the bowl games, I noticed(as I have for years, but especially the past few) so many elite players from Florida on almost every good and great team. Examples include Calvin Ridley(and others) playing for Bama, Sony Michel(and others) playing for GA. We MUST win more of the recruiting battles for these elite instate players, especially now that GA is loading up with classes even Bama may be behind. We MUST, if we are to return to the glory days.

    • Yup, I was thinking the same thing. There was some statistic I saw recently that said Florida is now producing the most top talent of any state — not Texas or Cali as I would have thought. Unfortunately, I can’t remember where I saw this or what metrics they used but I do remember that it was a strong argument and the gap between #1 & #2 was significant. There is so much talent that there is no way UF could ever hope to even land most of it — but if UF could just start landing 30% of the top 50 in state along with 2-3 of the top 10 on a yearly basis — it would be a drastic improvement. We really need to stop wasting things like this year’s deep WR class, the deep OL class from a while back, etc. Apparently UF is the “dream school” of so many of these guys — we just need to start having some success and excitement so dreams start turning into reality.

      • You guys are right, Steve & TJ. McElwain recruited, ranking-wise, smack dead in the middle of the SEC, and that’s essentially where we played to. Until the bottom fell out and the fraud was exposed this last season, that is. I’m pretty sure, had he been retained, he would have lost more of this class than we wound up losing. The only way we can snag these home grown 5-Stars is to start winning, win big, and keep winning. In other words, what’s attractive to an elite recruit about a 7-5 or 8-4 team, who can’t seem to ever beat its in-state rivals? Enter Mullen. Wait for it…..wait for it…….here it comes now…….