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Ohio State looks to close out 2018 at No. 1

With 24 hours until national signing day, where does Ohio State stand with its top three targets?

Nicholas Petit-Frere
247sports

It’s almost time. National Signing Day 2018 is just a mere 24 hours away and the Ohio State Buckeyes led by Urban Meyer are sitting atop the team rankings once again.

The 247Sports Composite Rankings list the Buckeyes’ 2018 recruiting haul at No. 1 but the gap between them and No. 2 Georgia is small enough where the top spot is still up for grabs. However, it appears that the Bulldogs will earn a commitment from five-star cornerback Tyson Campbell which would push them beyond Ohio State’s class.

That being said, Ohio State is making some late moves in hopes to hold onto their top ranking. With this is mind, there are three recruits the Buckeyes have apparently focused on to close out 2018. Below, we will break down Ohio State chances in landing a commitment from one of their final remaining prospects.

5-star OT Nicholas Petit-Frere

Ohio State’s best shot at bringing in the top recruiting class for this cycle lies in the hands of one of the top prospects in the entire class. Five-star offensive tackle Nicholas Petit-Frere (Tampa, FL / Berkeley Prep.)

The No. 1 offensive linemen in the 2018 class has been favored to choose hometown school Florida for the majority of his recruitment. However, Urban Meyer and Larry Johnson are making a strong push late in the process.

Petit-Frere is coming off an official visit to Columbus this past weekend, in which he was accompanied by his mother. Little information concerning the visit has been made public, but it is widely believed and expected that it went as well as possible.

Securing a commitment from Petit-Frere would not only be a gigantic boost to Ohio State’s recruiting class ranking, but it would also address an obvious hole at the offensive tackle position. The lack of depth at the position and Ohio State’s pedigree would alone seem to be enough to convince an elite player to commit to the University.

Petit-Frere has kept things close to the vest throughout his entire recruitment. However, it appears the blue-chip prospect has narrowed his decision down to Ohio State, Notre Dame and Florida. He is scheduled to make his announcement at his high school, Berkley Prep, at 10 a.m. ET tomorrow. The ceremony will be broadcast on ESPNU and will likely be one of the most anticipated announcements for the day.

While it appears Florida is still the favorite, albeit by a small amount, the Buckeyes should be confident in their chances. As stated above though, nobody really knows which direction he is leaning at the moment.

If Ohio State is able to land Petit-Frere, it will almost guarantee the Buckeyes the No. 1 class in the country. Again, this could go either way and I believe Ohio State has done the absolute best they could to earn a pledge from the elite offensive linemen, but Florida has to remain the favorite due solely to the fact he hasn’t said anything to lead us believe otherwise.

The pick: Florida

4-star OT Rasheed Walker

Sticking with the offensive line, another prospect Ohio State seems to have focused on late in the recruiting cycle is four-star offensive tackle Rasheed Walker (Waldorf, MD / North Point).

Walker has long been a Penn State favorite but has seen Urban Meyer and Ohio State come on strong in the months leading up to National Signing Day. The path to playing time is much quicker at Ohio State than at Penn State due to a lack of depth at the position. However, Penn State has been building a relationship with Walker for much longer, so the Nittany Lions would appear to be the safer and more comfortable choice.

That being said, unlike Petit-Frere, Walker has already made up his mind. The country’s No. 6 OT, according to the 247Sports Composite Rankings, released a teaser for his decision over the weekend, in which Ohio State, Penn State and Virginia Tech were listed as his final three schools.

While Walker understands the opportunities that would present themselves if he were to commit to Ohio State, Penn State will likely earn his pledge tomorrow. Like Petit-Frere, Walker will make his announcement at his high school tomorrow around 11 a.m.

The Pick: Penn State

4-star DE Javontae Jean-Baptiste

Four-star defensive end Javonte Jean-Baptiste’s recruitment is one of the most difficult to predict. While many prospects tend to narrow down their decision to a small list of schools this late in the process, things have been the exact opposite for Jean-Baptiste.

Jean-Baptiste has seen his recruitment take off late in the process. In fact, the top contenders for his services didn’t officially offer him until late last year.

His recruitment appears to be down to Ohio State, Nebraska and Texas A&M, with Nebraska being the runaway favorite in the 247Sports Crystal Ball Rankings, holding 91-percent of the predictions.

The blue-chip prospect took an official visit to Texas A&M this past weekend and new head coach Jimbo Fisher has established himself as one of the top recruiters in the country.

While Ohio State and Texas A&M have made valiant efforts late in the process, Nebraska was all-in on Jean-Baptiste since the moment they offered him. Because his relationship with Nebraska seems to be the strongest, the Cornhuskers will likely walk away with the commitment.

The pick: Nebraska

Make sure to stay up to date with Land-Grant Holy Land for the latest on Ohio State’s recruiting class.

Quick Hit:

Ohio State picked up another preferred walk-on commitment yesterday. This time it came from Mason, Ohio defensive tackle Garrison Glover.