There's no doubt Ohio State has a position of need. The defensive line has endless talent on the roster, but the defensive tackle position is something of a question mark for the Buckeyes. Fortunately, for Larry Johnson and the defensive staff, Malik Barrow is a more-than-solid piece to completing the defensive tackle puzzle for the Buckeyes.
Starting in the summer of 2014, Malik attended a one-day camp and immediately began developing relationships with the Ohio State coaching staff. The 4-star then left campus high on Ohio State and wanted to make a return visit, with a decision coming soon after. Fast forward to April 19, 2015, and Malik made it official that he was going to be a Buckeye.
Originally a Tampa Catholic product, Malik transferred to the prestigious IMG Academy where his senior campaign began with a very impressive start. However, a season-ending knee injury for Barrow set a bit of roadblock. But during his time off he has been able to rehab and while immediate playing time will be a tough goal to reach, being an early enrollee for the Buckeyes will ensure that he gets the very best medical treatment and strength program to get him back to his competitive playing form.
With a thinner defensive tackle group and even a knee injury to Barrow, there is still hope for him to crack a defensive line rotation this fall. At 6'3', 270 pounds, Malik has the body that can fill the holes in the trenches as a defensive tackle. With a year under strength coach Micky Marotti, Malik will have the opportunity to add size and strength to his already impressive form which will give the Buckeyes are great advantage in the middle as they still have the size and speed on the defensive ends of the line. Look for Barrow to be a key contributor as Ohio State starts its next wave of defensive tackles.
The IMG product possesses good size, standing at 6'3 and 270 pounds. He has a thick, strong frame and will get a head start since he enrolled early. Barrow is quick off the ball and uses his strength and physicality to beat the blocker. He is more physical than he is fast, both as a run defender and as a pass rusher. Overall, Barrow is a physical defensive lineman who should bulk up and play inside, where the Buckeye staff has had trouble developing and recruiting talent. If Barrow does indeed bulk up, he has a chance to make a push in the spring for the playmaking defensive tackle spot. -Christopher Jason