Better Know a Buckeye: Malcolm Pridgeon

By Vico on July 29, 2016 at 10:10 am
Malcolm Pridgeon
Photo via James Escher, Newsday

Our "Better Know a Buckeye" series continues with its 24th and penultimate installment for the year. We profile Malcolm Pridgeon, a junior college offensive tackle prospect originally from Central Islip, New York.

Malcolm Pridgeon

  • Size: 6-8/324
  • Position: OT
  • Hometown (School): Central Islip, NY (Nassau CC)
  • 247 Composite: ★★★★
  • National Ranking (JUCO): 4
  • Position Ranking (JUCO): 3 (OT)
  • State Ranking (JUCO): 2 (NY)

Pridgeon is a peculiar addition to this recruiting class. Ohio State does not recruit junior college prospects, generally. It's signed just three JUCO prospects in the past ten years. However, Pridgeon's size was too intriguing for Ohio State's coaches to ignore. The Buckeyes won a recruiting battle for Pridgeon over several programs, principally Baylor.

I retell Pridgeon's recruitment below and discuss the reasons for his commitment. Thereafter, I provide a scouting report for a mammoth offensive tackle prospect who is arguably the biggest player overall on the roster. I provide a projection that Pridgeon should see some time this fall and close with highlight film from last year.


Ohio State rarely signs junior college prospects. Junior college prospects do not feature prominently on Ohio State's recruiting board either. The intuition for this is straightforward. Ohio State, a marquee program, can better recruit prospects with more eligibility (and arguably higher ceilings as a result). Junior college prospects typically land at lower-tier programs that could use a player solid enough to play immediately.

More Malcolm Pridgeon at 11W

Malcolm Pridgeon was different. He attracted attention from some big programs after his first year at Nassau Community College. Connecticut, Syracuse, and Temple had outstanding offers from high school, though concerns for standardized test scores precluded Pridgeon from signing with a program. Arizona State, Central Florida, Temple, Texas Tech, and Virginia Tech offered through the first few months of 2015. Alabama and Ohio State offered the same day on March 18, 2015. Both Mario Cristobal and Ed Warinner relayed that they liked what they saw but Pridgeon had work to do in the classroom.

Pridgeon's recruitment continued through the spring and summer. There was momentary confusion last June about Pridgeon. 247Sports reported that Pridgeon had committed to Rutgers, though Pridgeon had to clarify a few days later that was a misunderstanding. He acquired several more offers from various places like Baylor, Florida, Nebraska, Ole Miss, and Pittsburgh, among others, while he focused on graduating from community college.

The Baylor offer proved important through this period. Baylor, which does recruit JUCO prospects more than programs like Alabama and Ohio State, made Pridgeon a high priority for its 2016 recruiting class and felt that its new success and exotic offense could entice Pridgeon to move from his Long Island home to Waco. He even visited Waco at the end of June to see the program for himself.

Months passed with no real change in Pridgeon's recruitment. Nassau Community College's recruiting coordinator, Greg Lauri, felt Baylor was at the top of Pridgeon's list. He said Pridgeon had Baylor at the top of his list every time they talked about the next step after community college. Visits to places like Florida and West Virginia late in the process, and even an offer from Arkansas, did not appear to dissuade Pridgeon from thinking of Waco as his next home.

Ohio State made one last move for Pridgeon by convincing him to take an official visit to Columbus for the weekend of January 29-30. It went well, though it passed without much fanfare. Recruiting analysts felt Baylor was the likely destination for Pridgeon the day after the Ohio State visit.

Pridgeon entered signing day with four school he was considering: Baylor, Florida, Ohio State, and West Virginia. However, there was practically just two: Baylor and Ohio State. Crystal ball projections ex post do not quite capture how much of a toss-up it was. Pridgeon liked both programs and struggled to find a negative to say about any one of them. He fancied Baylor more through the course of his recruitment than he did Ohio State. However, Pridgeon did want to stay closer to his Long Island home if he could. That may have been the deciding factor on signing day.


Malcolm Pridgeon committed to and signed with Ohio State on February 3, 2016 as the 24th member of its 2016 recruiting class. He chose the Buckeyes over Baylor.

Pridgeon said little of his commitment. However, because he committed to and signed with Ohio State on signing day, the coaches were at liberty to discuss his commitment as it unfolded. It's a case of knowing Ed Warinner, getting to know Urban Meyer, and introducing himself to Greg Studrawa.

Per Meyer:

"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."

Studrawa added that he felt Pridgeon was in the class after he left for his official visit. He just needed to get his mother on board.

"We were trying to set things up, because the situation was it was just with him... His mom couldn't come because she was ill, so he had to feel comfortable. Then he had to go back and tell her about it since she couldn't experience what was here."


"It was important to him to get his family's blessing before he made that decision... His decision was clear before he left here, I think. That's what he wanted to do, he wanted them to be as happy about it as he was. So that's what really transpired."

Pridgeon is only the third junior college player to sign a letter of intent to play for Ohio State in the past ten years (Larry Grant, Corey Smith).


Most evaluations of Pridgeon start with his size. He's enormous. Pridgeon registers at 6-foot-8 and around 324 pounds. Pending Ohio State's official measurements, he'd be taller than everyone on the roster (except Kevin Feder) and would be second on the team in weight (behind Tyler Gerald). He'll be conspicuous on the roster even as Ohio State has recruited some mammoth offensive linemen of late.

Still, his size comes with almost no body fat. He has less work to do in the weight room than the typical prospect who enrolls in college with those measurements. He has a great knee bend. He's light on his feet too. These traits followed him from basketball to football when Pridgeon made the transition to that sport full-time.

Coaches at Nassau also speak well of him off the field. It's no secret that standardized test scores precluded Pridgeon from passing through the NCAA Clearinghouse after high school. It's also common knowledge that programs like Alabama and Ohio State offered him conditional on his work in the classroom. Pridgeon knows this and told his coaches that Ohio State's focus on academics is one of the reasons he chose the Buckeyes.

"The thing that stood out–and this tells you what kind of type of character and what type of kid he is–he didn't speak about the facilities, he didn't speak about the coaches," [former Nassau CC coach, Joe] Osovet added. "He said 'Coach, Ohio State's academic support system is above and beyond any of the places I've been to on all of my five visits.' That right there tells you what kind of kid Malcolm Pridgeon is. That's a special kid."


Pridgeon has three years to play two seasons. His window to make an impact on the roster is that much smaller. Ohio State's offensive line does similar things to how Nassau coaches instructed Pridgeon. However, the terminology is different. Pridgeon will need to learn that immediately.

I'm also not keen at the moment on how Pridgeon uses his arms and hands, certainly on pass protection. Pridgeon's arms extend to his knee caps but he finds himself allowing pass rushers into his chest. I think he should be extending his arms more than he does.


Ohio State's offensive line has openings and Pridgeon should play in some capacity this fall.


Here are last season's highlights at Nassau.


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