Ole Miss football is now officially home to three dual-sport stars. Four-star Bergen Catholic (N.J.) defensive tackle Tywone Malone joins Jerrion Ealy and John Rhys Plumlee now that he has signed his letter of intent with Lane Kiffin and the Rebels.
The country’s No. 64 overall prospect chose Ole Miss over notable offers from Alabama, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, LSU, Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Penn State, and Texas A&M among several others.
Co-defensive coordinator Chris Partridge and defensive graduate assistant were both instrumental in the signing of the Bergen Catholic star. Malone battled injuries as a senior, making just 12 tackles, 3.5 sacks, 3.5 tackles for loss, and one interception in six games. But, New Jersey’s No. 1 ranked player burst onto the scene with a breakthrough junior year in 2019. He finished the year with 54 tackles, 16 tackles for loss, and seven sacks.
He even had a 34-yard reception that went viral.
#Rivals100 DL Tywone Malone is one of the nation's top defensive linemen, but he also has some hands, too.— Rivals (@Rivals) January 15, 2021
Check out this catch from last season shot by @RivalsFriedman pic.twitter.com/oGXFKkDhEk
But, he won’t be asked to catch passes in Oxford, he will be tasked with helping Partridge and DJ Durkin continue to rebuild the Ole Miss defense.
Ole Miss baseball head coach Mike Bianco and assistant coach Carl Lafferty were just as instrumental in this recruitment. This decision was just as much a baseball one as it was a football one. Malone is a legitimate two-sport star who was courted by Florida State’s Mike Martin, Jr. and Texas A&M’s Rob Childress, but the Rebels were able to hold them off to secure the big-bodied first baseman and designated hitter.
After Malone took unofficial visits to Tallahassee, College Station, and Knoxville, he ended his recruiting visits with one last stop to Oxford. After that, things were solidified and he his decision was made.
The Under Armour All-American will join fellow defensive line signees Isaiah Iton, Jamond Gordon, Jibran Hawkins, Demarcus Smith, and Taleeq Robbins in Oxford after his final baseball season at Bergen Catholic.
How does he fit in?
The 6-foot-4, 300-pound defensive tackle is incredibly strong at the point of attack. He is more than capable of overpowering interior offensive linemen to make plays behind the line of scrimmage and is just as able to run down running backs and quarterbacks. His repertoire is a bit limited, but his quick first step, handwork, and strength helps him win one-on-one with ease.
He’s also shown the athleticism to make plays in the passing game on defense as well.
Big Man Touchdown ❕❗️❕— Gus Ramos (@G1Bound) October 10, 2020
Tywone Malone (@TywoneMalone) with the pick-six for @BergenCathFBall pic.twitter.com/GSlxN0yrtS
On the baseball diamond, Malone is more than just a big fella who hits it really far. The newest Rebel has a quick swing, sending baseballs into orbit at 100+ MPH exit velocities. And when he doesn’t hit it over the fence, he can scoot for extra bases.
Triple for uncommitted 2021 1B Tywone Malone, Jr.! 6’4”, 295, and can run!@FlatgroundBats pic.twitter.com/s9pJYc2vP6— DBacks Elite Baseball (@DBacksEliteOrg) July 4, 2020
And, yeah, he can hit the ball far, too.
Turn Up The Volume!! Loud HR over the trees by #Uncommitted 2021 Tywone Malone (NJ). Massive frame w/ Uber-Athleticism & immense power to all fields. Consistent bat-to-ball skills w/ almost double digit homers already this summer. (Noted 4⭐️ FB recruit) @PG_Uncommitted pic.twitter.com/gvhzwtfYpB— Perfect Game Scout (@PG_Scouting) July 19, 2020
The Bergen Catholic star had double-digit home runs last summer and will be someone that can possibly induce beverage showers at Swayze Field once he arrives at Ole Miss.
On the football field, I fully expect Malone to not only compete for playing time in 2021, but he could be fighting for a spot in the two-deep. Across campus, though, I expect him to start as a designated hitter and pinch hit candidate as he gets acclimated to SEC pitching.
This is easily the biggest signee for the Rebels because of their desperate need for impact defensive lineman. And it doesn’t hurt that he’s a high-level baseball player that everyone can watch in the spring, too.