One of the country’s top defensive line prospects is heading to Ole Miss. And he will be playing two sports in Oxford.
Tywone Malone, a 6-foot-4, 300-pounder from New Jersey, announced his decision on Wednesday, choosing to play for Ole Miss over Texas A&M, Florida State and Rutgers. Though the NCAA dead period remains in place and he wasn’t able to meet with the coaches in-person, Malone was able to make a recent trip down to Oxford to get a feel for the campus and the surrounding area before finalizing his choice.
Ole Miss has landed a commitment from #Rivals100 DL Tywone Malone @TywoneMalone@rivalsfriedman breaks down what Malone is bringing to Oxford: https://t.co/Kl94Q0LJ6Z pic.twitter.com/i5yBP4aXaK
— Rivals (@Rivals) February 3, 2021
Malone is rated by Rivals.com as the top player from the state of New Jersey in the class of 2021. Malone is the fifth-best defensive tackle in his class and No. 64 overall in the country. He is the eighth four-star recruit to sign with Ole Miss in the program’s 2021 class. Only tight end Hudson Wolfe (No. 56 overall) is rated higher among Ole Miss’ 2021 signees.
"We got a great player today,” Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin said. “He’s no secret. I think he got offers from everyone in the country. We went down to the wire with some big-time, great programs.”
Tywone Malone to play football and baseball at Ole Miss
Malone is also a power-hitting first baseman at Bergen Catholic High School in Oradell, New Jersey.
Malone told Rivals.com’s Adam Friedman that the chance to play both sports, and knowing that other Ole Miss football players have been able to excel as two-sport athletes helped him make his decision.
“I picked Ole Miss because of their coaching staff,” Malone said. “The players and the coaches are really nice and chill. The way the coaches said they can develop me is really good. Coach Kiffin, Coach Watson and Coach Partridge kept in touch with me really well.
“The baseball part of things looked really good, too. They told me what I could do for their program and how I could help. That was really good. It was nice to know people like Jerrion Ealy and John Rhys Plumlee that have played both sports before. I was able to ask them questions about how they did it. That was really good to know.”
According to Friedman, Malone is versatile enough to line up in multiple spots along the defensive line and is extremely athletic for his size.
“The overall athleticism that Malone brings to the roster is outstanding. He’s able to create chaos in the backfield and chase down ball carriers that have already broken through the front line,” Friedman wrote.
And when you watch him swing a bat, it’s easy to see why he wants to continue playing baseball at the college level.
— DBacks Elite Baseball (@DBacksEliteOrg) July 4, 2020
Malone will join fellow football players, quarterback John Rhys Plumlee and running back Jerrion Ealy, on the Ole Miss baseball team. Both Plumlee and Ealy are outfielders for the Rebels.
"He is not just a great football player but a great baseball player too, so we can continue the relationship of having kids play two sports, which we definitely are about,” Kiffin said. “I think it's great for them and it's great for the university like John Rhys Plumlee and Jerrion Ealy do. You usually just don't find 325-pounders who do it, but we happened to find one.
“It's one thing to have a great baseball program that wins. It's another thing to have one that wins and wins with style and has a crowd like they do at baseball games. These kids know about it around the entire country. The baseball staff was unbelievable in the recruitment."
The Rebels went 5-5 in 2020, finishing the season with a win over Indiana in the Outback Bowl. It was the first bowl victory for the program since 2015. The 2020 season was Kiffin’s first as the Ole Miss head coach.
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