Jim Harbaugh is gearing Michigan's entire Outback Bowl preparation around 5-star OT Nicholas Petit-Frere

Jim Harbaugh is gearing Michigan's entire Outback Bowl preparation around 5-star OT Nicholas Petit-Frere

Outside The Box

Jim Harbaugh is gearing Michigan's entire Outback Bowl preparation around 5-star OT Nicholas Petit-Frere

The 2017 season hasn’t been quite as successful as some Michigan fans might have liked, but there was still a nice, soft landing in the New Year’s Day Outback Bowl as a conciliation package. That may end up as an even sweeter reward, too, if coach Jim Harbaugh’s practice machinations can bear fruit on the recruiting trail.

RELATED: Florida signee Jake Allen claims Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh said he doesn’t care about grades

Michigan website The Wolverine Lounge confirmed that Michigan will hold all of its practices for the Outback Bowl at Tampa-area school Berkeley Prep.

That’s an interesting move given the availability of other college facilities nearby, but there is apparently a clear benefit of using Berkeley Prep: It happens to be the school of five-star offensive tackle Nicholas Petit-Frere, who remains one of the nation’s most sought after recruits.

NCAA regulations will keep Harbaugh and his staff from having direct contact with Petit-Frere while they’re on campus, but it will be pretty hard for the 6-foot-6, 272-pounder to completely ignore them. After all, they’ll be there every day, and it’s completely kosher for the Under Armour All-American to swing by the team’s practices announced or otherwise.

Given that tackle is one of the team’s most significant roster needs for the 2018 season, adding Petit-Frere would be an absolutely enormous move for Harbaugh and his staff. Now, thanks to a shrewd scheduling move and fortuitous bowl selection, they may be in position to make a much more direct impression on the five-star than any other program.

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Jim Harbaugh is gearing Michigan's entire Outback Bowl preparation around 5-star OT Nicholas Petit-Frere
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