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With the recruiting dead period now in effect, SEC Country is counting down the top-5 recruiting targets for Florida in the Class of 2018.

No. 1 is Nicholas Petit-Frere, a 5-star offensive tackle from Berkeley Prep in Tampa, Fla.

Recruiting importance of Nicholas Petit-Frere

Despite the mid-year enrollment of Noah Banks and Chris Bleich, the Gators need to load up on linemen in the Class of 2018. Florida currently has a pledge from top-100 offensive tackle Richard Gouraige, but he chose not to sign early on Dec. 20. The departure of former offensive line coach Brad Davis — his primary recruiter — could lead to Gouraige’s de-commitment. That possibility makes Petit-Frere a bigger priority to UF coach Dan Mullen and his staff.

Biggest competition for Nicholas Petit-Frere

Alabama is the program to keep an eye on. Petit-Frere keeps his recruitment close to the vest and doesn’t give away any hints, such as where he’s leaning or which coaches he has the best relationships with. That being said, Alabama, Florida, Michigan, Notre Dame and Ohio State are the considered the top schools for Petit-Frere. He has officially visited Michigan and Notre Dame. In addition to Alabama, Florida and Ohio State, Petit-Frere also has Auburn, LSU and Miami vying for one of his last trips.

Signing day projection for Nicholas Petit-Frere

Petit-Frere has a lot to figure out between now and National Signing Day. If the Under Armour All-American had to make a commitment right now, I don’t think he could. That’s the good news for the Gators. Petit-Frere is undecided, so Florida has a chance to win him over with an official visit. However, Mullen