NEW JERSEY – Ohio State made a splash on Tuesday afternoon, when news hit social media that Ole Miss redshirt freshman defensive tackle Tywone Malone had opted to play for the Buckeyes over Miami (FL) and others for the remainder of his college eligibility.
Ohio State had originally recruited Malone out of Bergen Catholic High School, a powerhouse in Oradell, New Jersey, in the recruiting class of 2021. Early on in that cycle, the Buckeyes thought they had a great shot to land the nation’s 63rd overall player and top prospect in the Garden State, but a love for baseball had Malone chasing two-sport dreams in Oxford, where he’s played for the Rebels as a reserve on both the gridiron and diamond the last two years.
After appearing in just 13 games over two seasons for Ole Miss baseball, Malone is giving up his dreams as a slugger and is now set to only play football from here on out, announcing his transfer with three years of eligibility remaining, starting with the upcoming 2023 campaign. With laser focus on one sport, those close to him feel that the 6-foot-4, 315-pounder has a very bright future ahead in Scarlet and Gray.
“He’s got tremendous upside,” said Leroy Thompson, owner of the Complete Players training group, who has been Malone’s personal defensive line trainer since his sophomore year in high school, and who has also been a major influence of guidance and support on and off the field throughout the years. “That’s scary when you talk about how much talent he has already. With him focusing only on football year round, the sky is the limit with his potential. He will definitely become a dominant force.”
“I think the sky is the limit for him,” Malone’s former high school coach Vito Campanile stated. “He has always been a tremendous player, but he has been stretched thin with his time playing two sports. Being fully engaged in football, I think he has the potential to be a guy that ends up playing on Sundays.”
Malone should be arriving in Columbus sometime in the next month. He’ll participate in summer workouts with the team before fall camp opens up. While his best days as a Buckeye will likely come in the 2024 and 2025 seasons, there’s no reason to think he can’t have an impact on the program’s success in 2023.
“He’s got versatility, athleticism, a high football IQ, and he’s a player who has fun on the field,” Thompson chimed in when asked about what Malone can bring to OSU immediately. “Working with Ty for almost four years, I would also say his hand work and agility are great strengths for him. Baseball has probably put limits on the weight room in the past, but once he gets a full dose of weights, that will propel him to another level.”
Finally, a big part of what Ohio State looks at is culture fit. While Malone may have an imposing physical stature, he should fit in very well with the “brotherhood” the Buckeyes look to build off the field.
“Off the field, he’s just a chill, laid-back kid who enjoys life,” Thompson shared. “he’s mature, ahead of his time, which I know comes from his great family structure, and guidance.”