Top 50 DT Tywone Malone goes in-depth on his top 6 and future plans
There are only 12 players in the top 50 of the Rivals100 that are still uncommitted and one of them, Tywone Malone, released a list of his final six contenders earlier this week. The defensive tackle out of Oradell (N.J.) Bergen Catholic took some time to go in-depth on each of his final six schools, why they remain in contention for his commitment, and what the next step in his process looks like.
IN HIS OWN WORDS...
On why he released his short list now: "I just felt like it was a great opportunity for me," Malone said. "I really confident in these six schools. I've been talking to them for a while now and I just felt like this was the time to do it."
Florida State: "Coach Haggins and coach Norvell have really shown me a lot," he said. "I know what they've done in the past and I know they're rebuilding right now. They've shown just how much they care about their players. Coach Norvell definitely knows I want to play baseball too. They've done it there before and I really like how well the football and baseball programs have worked together to recruit me. How well coach Haggins has developed defensive linemen definitely caught my eye. I haven't visited there yet."
Ole Miss: "I liked everything there." said Malone. "I like Lane Kiffin and their program. I know coach Partridge and coach Watson and they talk to me so much. When I went down there for a baseball visit I really got a chance to see both sides of the program and mostly the baseball part. They already have two football players playing baseball so that being done already there is something I really like. It was great to see how everything was put together and how the community comes together for any sport. Their fan base is amazing and they come out to support their team regardless of whether they're playing a local team or it's a rivalry game. I had a couple conversations with Jerrion Ealy and some of the other guys on the baseball team and they had a lot of good things to say about it. They said you don't have a whole lot of time on your hands when you play both sports but it's worth it if you're dedicated in both sports. It was a pretty good talk."
Rutgers: "They have recruited me since day one," he said. "Coach Nunz, coach Schiano, and everybody have been texting me and checking in on me from day one. I was on campus before the dead period started. There's no pressure from them. They just check on me to make sure I'm doing well. Their baseball program is on the come up right now. They're rebuilding and their coaches definitely see me being able to play both sports there."
Tennessee: "Coach Pruitt and all of them have been showing me love from day one just like Rutgers," Malone said. "They've always been on me. Coach Vitello (the Tennessee baseball coach) has been checking up on me multiple times a day to see how I'm doing and how my family is doing. He's another coach that definitely wants me to play in his baseball program. Their baseball program, like the Ole Miss baseball team, is definitely in the top but it's hard to compare them. They're known for winning big time games and they play really competitive SEC baseball. I did a virtual visit with Tennessee a couple months ago. I've seen the type of players they have going there and they're reaching out to me to see how I'm doing, how recruiting has been, and if I ever have any questions about recruiting I can give them a call. It's good to know I have some guys I can call if have something I need or need some advice."
Texas A&M: "I was there for a visit last season for a game," he said. "It was pretty fun to see how it is down there, their fan base, and to see how well they support their team. I've been talking to coach Robinson and coach Fisher a lot. I feel like coach Robinson and I have a great relationship. He's been calling and checking up on me to see how I've been and talk about life outside of football. He's also asked about some of my baseball tournaments even though he doesn't know much about baseball. I've had to teach him a little something about it. The baseball program has been checking up on me to see how I've been doing this summer in baseball. I'm pretty familiar with the baseball team. I followed them before COVID hit, saw a couple of their games, and saw some stats about how well their coaching staff produces players."
USC: "I really like the coaching staff and everything I know about them," said Malone. "They've been building their program for the last few years. I like the fact that both of their programs (football and baseball) are interested in me. I really want to be able to do both and each team is showing me a lot of love. Right now I'm focused on my high school season but if the dead period goes away before I commit I'll definitely make a plan to go out there."
On why Ohio State, a perceived favorite, didn't make the cut: "The big key was the baseball part of things," he said. "I really haven't been talking to Ohio State's baseball program as much as these other schools. Coach Day, coach Johnson, and I were calling and texting a lot and that's what I really liked about Ohio State but, like I said, baseball is a big thing in my recruitment and that was making it tough."
On his plan for the next couple months: "As of right now I'm just focusing on my senior season and football," Malone said. "After that, only time will tell what the next chapter is. I was planning on committing at the Under Armour All-America Game. That's pretty much my deadline right now. Until I hear the game isn't happening or if anything else changes, that's pretty much a hard deadline for me.
"If I have a little time before baseball starts and I'm allowed to go down and visit schools I'll definitely try to plan some dates for visits." he said. "I'm looking for what team is still willing to keep it going with allowing me to play both sports, keeps pushing for me, and truly wants me to be able to do both sports."
Malone doesn’t give much away when he does interviews and, having been focused on baseball for most of the last few months, he hasn’t had much time to devote to sorting out his recruitment. Finally narrowing down his lengthy offer sheet to six schools is a major milestone for him and it wasn’t a decision he took lightly. Being able to take visits would obviously be a huge help to Malone as he works towards finding the school for him but taking visits doesn’t seem like something he is hell-bent on doing before he makes his decision. Based on his comments, Tennessee and Ole Miss fans should feel pretty good about where they currently stand in Malone’s recruitment. The added recruiting efforts by the Tennessee baseball coaching staff seems to be help the Vols quite a bit and his familiarity with the Ole Miss baseball team is doing the same for the Rebels. Ole Miss does have something Tennessee and the rest of Malone’s top contenders don’t: two high-profile current players that are on the football and baseball teams. Their success in both sports might be enough to sway Malone’s decision.
Florida State, Texas A&M, Rutgers, and USC appear to have a good shot at landing Malone as well but they could use a visit or a few big wins on the field this season to pick up some much needed momentum.