Better Know a Buckeye: Malik Barrow

By Vico on April 1, 2016 at 10:10 am
Malik Barrow

Our "Better Know a Buckeye" series continues with its eighth installment. We profile Malik Barrow, a defensive tackle prospect from Tampa by way of the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida.

Malik Barrow

  • Size: 6-3/287
  • Position: DT
  • (Hometown) School: Tampa, FL (IMG Academy)
  • 247 Composite: ★★★★
  • National Ranking: 296
  • Position Ranking: 30 (DT)
  • State Ranking: 41 (FL)

Malik Barrow had a brief recruitment and was drawn to Ohio State almost immediately after the program offered in May of his junior year. He took an unofficial visit to Ohio State a month afterward and was drawn to Larry Johnson and Urban Meyer. He took some unofficial visits regionally before returning to Ohio State for its 2015 spring game. He committed to Ohio State there.

I retell his recruitment below, which was largely about Ohio State after the Buckeyes offered. Thereafter, I discuss some of the reasons why he chose Ohio State. I offer a scouting report that highlights how Barrow would likely be a five-star prospect if he did not have his senior season cut short to injury. I conclude with a projection that Barrow will likely play as a true freshman. Senior-year highlight film follows at the end of the feature.


All subjects in our profile to date had meager recruitments in the beginning. Most of them have been Ohioans and so their first offers were from a MAC school or an equivalent program. This was not Malik Barrow's case. His first offer was from Mississippi State on May 2, 2014. Michigan State offered three days later.

This is clearly not a bad start to any prospect's recruitment.

More offers came in the following days. North Carolina offered the day after Michigan State. Offers from Kentucky, North Carolina State, Rutgers, Boston College, South Florida, and Central Florida came in succession the week thereafter. 

Ohio State finally offered on May 14, 2014. This offer, more than the others, got Barrow's attention. It resulted in an unofficial visit to Ohio State for a one-day camp in June. 

Barrow returned to Florida with a glowing review of the experience. He cited what he learned about technique from Larry Johnson in the camp and his time chatting with Urban Meyer. Barrow confessed to being a bit starstruck since he remembered Meyer from his time in Gainesville coaching the Gators to two national championships. Meyer reiterated that he liked what he saw and wanted to see Barrow play for the Buckeyes but there was no rush.

Barrow mentioned that there was no rush nor a timetable to his decision in the summer of 2014. Yet, he could not help but name Ohio State as a tentative leader after the visit.

He took more visits through the summer and the fall of 2014. This included a trip to Michigan State, which was his second offer. That trip came immediately after the trip to Ohio State. He also made unofficial visits to Central Florida, Florida, Georgia Tech, and Boston College during breaks from his junior season. The Central Florida visit planted an idea in Barrow's head about staying close to home and being a local hero for the Golden Knights.

Yet, even the visits to places like Central Florida came with the qualifier that Ohio State was still the highest on his list of potential destinations. The following spring of 2015 led to a renewed effort to return to Columbus with his parents for Ohio State's spring game. A sit-down chat with Urban Meyer was all Barrow needed to end his recruitment at that event.


On April 6, 2015, Malik Barrow became what would be the eighth member of Ohio State's 2016 recruiting class. He announced his decision via Twitter.

Barrow told Eleven Warriors that he felt Ohio State was the best overall fit. He wanted a great school with a great football program that would help him get to where he wants to be. Ohio State meets all those requirements for both in-state prospects and out-of-state prospects like Barrow.

Our community interview with Barrow revealed that he knew of Meyer's exploits during Meyer's time with the Florida Gators. However, he was not a huge college football fan in his youth. If anything, Ohio State's 2014 season-opener with Navy was a formative event that eventually led Barrow to select the Buckeyes.

My parents helped me to put everything into perspective and pointed out little things we had to be aware of. We watched a lot of games last year but not just touchdowns and sacks; we had to look at the players discipline, how the coaches interacted with them, how players treated each other and responded in tough situations. The 2014 Ohio State and Navy game stands out in my mind; it was very impactful. Just to see the respect the coaches and players had for our future Naval leaders was outstanding. My dad immediately sent Mark Pantoni a Twitter message remarking how impressed he was.

Barrow had a variety of offers and even acquired an offer from Alabama a few weeks after he committed to the Buckeyes. Barrow never wavered and eventually signed a financial aid agreement that allowed him to enroll at Ohio State in January.


Malik Barrow's senior season ended just a few weeks after it started with a knee injury. This is unfortunate since he was phenomenal in the few games in which fans got to see him play for a talent-laden IMG Academy squad. If not for that injury, Barrow's senior season may have got him to five-star status.

The greatest interest in Barrow early into his recruitment lay in his frame and its potential once he moved to a major college football program. He was around 245 pounds as a junior and grew into 270 pounds as a senior. Notwithstanding his season-ending leg injury, Ohio State lists him at 287 pounds right now. In short, he could be ready to play the first game of the season.

His first step is among the best in the country at that position. Combine that with raw energy and strength and he becomes a handful for any center or guard tasked with defending him one-on-one. Some of his film highlights how opposing offenses had to double team him. Barrow did not beat those, but that's beside the point. An ability for any player on the defensive line to command a double-team puts the defense at an advantage over the offense.


My comments here will be mostly minor quibbles that are truisms for any defensive line prospect matriculating to a program like Ohio State. Barrow can play a bit high sometimes. This was not much of an issue in high school, even against some of the top-flight teams Barrow was playing while at IMG, but it would be an issue in college. This holds for even the bottom-tier teams like Illinois and Purdue.

Further, Barrow looks mostly like a bull-rusher now. He can get skinny and squeeze between gaps, but he relies mostly on his power and his first step at this point. He'll want to focus on things like his handwork, and his footwork as well, to become a more complete defensive tackle.

The good news is Larry Johnson is one of the best defensive line coaches in the business for what Barrow needs to improve in college.


I think Barrow is good enough to appear on the two-deep at defensive tackle in 2016. He is also enrolled early and able to make the most of winter conditioning and spring practice. The depth ahead of him is presentable, if not particularly daunting nor well-established. I expect Barrow to play as a true freshman.



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