Ohio State’s 2016 recruiting class – the country’s fourth-ranked class – featured 25 signees from 11 states and many of those players are expected to contribute to the Buckeyes on-field success early in their careers.
Join Landof10.com as we introduce you to the next wave of Buckeyes in our Young Bucks series. Next up is offensive tackle Malcolm Pridgeon.
Who is Malcolm Pridgeon?
Most Buckeye fans got a late introduction to Pridgeon, considering Ohio State’s recruitment of him didn’t intensify until the final month of the recruiting cycle and his first and only recruiting visit to Columbus came the weekend before National Signing Day.
Given the amount of offensive linemen Ohio State signed in 2014 and 2015 — and already had committed in 2016 — Pridgeon was viewed as a bit of a luxury. However, the Nassau (N.Y.) Community College product was viewed as one of the more talented JUCO players in his class, and Ohio State offensive coordinator Ed Warinner led the push to sign him.
He loved his Ohio State visit and the feeling from the coaching staff was mutual. On Feb. 3, Pridgeon committed to OSU and faxed in his letter of intent.
“That was Ed Warinner and Greg Studrawa,” Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said. “We don’t recruit junior college — nothing against junior college guys, but we try to build from the youth up. And they kept telling me about this player, offensive tackle from Nassau, and I saw his size and watched the videotape, very impressive guy. He has some work to do in the classroom yet. He came on his visit and stole everybody’s heart.”
- Height: 6-foot-7
- Weight: 315 pounds
- Number: 66
- Hometown: Central Islip, N.Y.
- Junior College: Nassau (N.Y.) Community College
- Composite Ranking: 3 (Offensive Tackle)
- JUCO Highlights
Pridgeon was set to compete with Isaiah Prince for the starting job at right tackle, but on Aug. 14 Meyer announced Pridgeon would miss at least three months with a knee injury. His setback handed the right tackle spot to Prince and virtually guarantees that Pridgeon will take a redshirt in 2016, after which he will have two years of eligibility remaining.
What does he bring to Ohio State?
When healthy, Pridgeon utilizes size and athleticism that made him among the most coveted offensive line recruits in the country last season. He also turned the offensive tackle spot into a position battle that prevented Jamarco Jones and Prince from coasting into the starting roles, and he will test them again next season, assuming Jones is back for his senior season.
Although Ohio State doesn’t have a recent history of recruiting JUCO players, Studrawa said he felt like Pridgeon’s presence would be beneficial for his position group.
“It might get their attention a little more with a junior college guy,” Studrawa said. “To me that’s good. That’s healthy competition. I think the only thing that will do is make our room better. If you want to play, you have to be the best you can be at your position. And if you’re afraid of competition, you ought not be here anyway. I don’t think any of them are afraid of competition.”
Will he play as a freshman?
Unless something crazy happens, no. A recovery timeline of at least three months covers almost all of the season.