Malcolm Pridgeon wants to cook up something special for Ohio State. The 6-8, 323-pound offensive tackle signed his national letter of intent to attend the Big Ten powerhouse Wednesday morning in the athletic office of Nassau Community College.
Pridgeon, a JUCO All-American for Nassau CC, had narrowed more than 30 full scholarship offers to Baylor and Ohio State and made his final decision surrounded by his college coaches and his mother, Peggy White.
“I’m honored that so many schools recruited me and believed in my skills,” Pridgeon said. “Ohio State offers me the opportunity to play football at the highest level and with hard work and focus, the chance to play in the NFL. The college also offers my major in the culinary arts, where I can also live the dream of being a chef.”
“Oh yes, a chef,” Pridgeon laughed. “I watched my Mom cook my whole life and always took an interest in food.”
The larger than life Pridgeon is no longer the tall, lanky teenager that left Central Islip with average grades and blind ambition. This is a more muscular Pridgeon with a laser-like focus and a desire to play in the NFL.
“He’s the next big thing,” said former Nassau CC coach Joe Osovet, who recruited and coached Pridgeon for two years. “He’s a fantastic individual, a wonderful person, who’s overcome great adversity in his life to be a standup young man with all the potential in the world. His Dad died when he was 11 years old and his Mom was left to pick up the pieces. He came to Nassau and wanted to be a student-athlete and he leaves with a path and a plan.”
Pridgeon is thankful for the experience at Nassau CC. The kid, who used to walk four miles to Central Islip High School, credited the guidance of the Nassau CC staff for his success.
“The coaches taught me about classroom responsibilities and time management,’ Pridgeon said. “It was always academics first, that was the priority. Coach Oz was like a dad to me. He was always there for me.”
Osovet said Pridgeon’s ascension to the top of the recruiting class came with his transformation in the weight room.
“Malcolm always had great flexibility and quick feet,” Osovet said. “He has that long wing span and reach to block the outside rush of those quick defensive ends. He has all the intangibles and his increased strength will only help him at the next level.”
Pridgeon becomes the fifth offensive lineman in Ohio State’s 2016 class, joining tackles Michael Jordan and Gavin Cupp, and guards Tyler Gerald and Jack Wohlabaugh.
More NCC players on the move:
In addition to Pridgeon, four other Nassau CC players signed to transfer. OL Joe Pesce (Eastport-South Manor) will play at Division I-FCS Campbell University; OL Kevin Carboy (MacArthur) will play at Division II East Stroudsburg; DB Mohammad Abubakbar (Brentwood) will play at Division II William Jewell, and RB Chris Faison (Floyd) will play at Division II LIU Post.