The future stars of Ohio State football officially begin their Buckeye careers as standouts from all over the country put pens to their National Letters of Intent.
The Barrow File
- Class: 2016
- Size: 6-3/270
- Pos: DT
- School: IMG Academy (Tampa, FL)
- Composite Rating: ★★★★
- Composite Rank: 32 (DT)
Over the last few recruiting cycles, the defensive tackle position has been a hot topic for Ohio State and its fanbase. The Buckeyes have missed out on a number of top targets and have found themselves doing a bit of scrambling late in the process. Thankfully for Buckeye fans and for Larry Johnson, they were able to land a pretty darn good one early in the 2016 cycle.
Malik Barrow's feelings toward the Buckeyes were well documented early on in 2015. The four-star had camped in Columbus during the summer of 2014 and began to develop a relationship with the coaching staff. He was admittedly a bit awe-struck when meeting a legendary coach like Urban Meyer.
After putting Ohio State at the top of his list, he began talking about getting his mom back to campus and even discussed possibly making a decision.
"Ohio State is my leader right now," Barrow told Eleven Warriors. "If it feels right [to make a decision] following my visit then I'll make a decision. I talk with (Luke) Fickell, and the defensive staff, mostly," he added. "They say I'd be inside, used a bit like (departing Buckeye Michael) Bennett. I have no problem with that."
The Tampa Catholic turned IMG Academy standout made plans to return to Columbus for the spring game this past April, and that was all the Buckeyes needed to reel in an important piece along the defensive line.
After arriving in Columbus for the spring game, it didn't take long for the Barrow family to have a sit-down with Urban Meyer. Once the family was on board, the four-star made his intentions known.
Barrow spoke with Eleven Warriors about his decision to make things official.
"I wanted a great school with great football and great coaches that will help me get where I want to be," Barrow told Eleven Warriors about his choice."Ohio State was the best fit for me."
In Barrow, the Buckeyes are getting another versatile defensive tackle who has experience playing both inside and outside. The four-star was initially labeled as a defensive end by most of the recruiting sites, but the Buckeyes view the 6-foot-3, 270-pounder as a future defensive tackle.
While still at Tampa Catholic, Barrow suffered a torn labrum in his right shoulder. He would go on to play throughout the season, opting for surgery in the post-season. During the recovery, it was understandably a little bit tough to lift and add weight. Now, checking in at 270+ pounds, he has the look of an interior lineman.
Barrow's senior season at IMG Academy really couldn't have started off any better. Through the first few games, the four-star defensive tackle was the most impressive player on a ridiculously-talented IMG defense. He even pulled off the Bosa shrug after an interception against Miramar.
After seeing his stock rise thanks to two big games to open the season, Barrow received a bit of bad news after IMG's win against Desoto (TX). However, the season-ending knee injury didn't stop him from signing his financial aid agreement with the Buckeyes.
IMG's @MalikB_54 is the real deal. Dominated last 2 games. Had 3 tackles for loss and INT today.Most impressive Ascenders Def.player so far.
— Lynden Ostrander (@lynden_o) August 31, 2015
In speaking with Eleven Warriors, Barrow discussed his relationship with the Buckeyes' coaching staff; especially as it pertains to his future position coach.
Coach Larry Johnson's presence on the staff is huge and played a major role in my decision. Aside from his obvious, public success; he is a respectful, motivating, man of faith. He was the only coach to say, "I want to invest in you," and that he "constantly seeks out ways to make you better on the field, but more importantly, off it." He says one day you'll be in a husband, and father, and he wants to make sure to have a positive impact on that aspect of my life as well. My parents were instantly drawn to him. He truly wants to see his players be great men on, and off, the field.
Barrow chose the Buckeyes over a number of big offers. He was being courted by Miami, Michigan State, and Penn State. The Crimson Tide would later throw an offer his way as well.
Early playing time may be a bit tough to come by thanks to the knee injury, but Barrow is expected to at least provide some depth at a very thin defensive tackle position. He will obviously need to ease his way back after the injury, but working with Mickey Marotti to add some weight may very well be the focus of the next several months.
Lucky for Larry Johnson and Urban Meyer, he's already on campus and ready to begin classes this week.
Just got done moving into my new dorm
— Malik Barrow (@MalikB_54) January 9, 2016