In Tywone Malone, Rebels have two-sport, four-star player
OXFORD, Miss. – Tywone Malone’s birthday is May 2 and if Rebel fans are looking for a gift idea, the young man could use a jewelry box.
After his first year at Ole Miss, the two-sport star has earned a Sugar Bowl ring and a College World Series ring.
Although two-sport performers are not uncommon in college athletics, Ole Miss football coach Lane Kiffin noted with Malone there is a slight difference.
“It’s really cool for someone to be a two-sport player,” Kiffin said. “But you usually don’t have a big one, you know with his size as a defensive lineman, so there’s good and bad to everything, the bad part is you have to work yourself back in because you missed some time (during baseball) so he’s doing a great job.”
At 6-foot-4, 315 pounds, switching sports is not as easy as it may seem. But the Jamesburg, N.J., native has found by keeping the process simple, it makes it simpler.
“Everybody’s got unique skills and for me personally it’s just trying to get back into football coming from baseball,” Malone said.
“Transition (into) football is a lot so I’m just doing my techniques, doing (what) coach tells me and just getting in shape for the season.”
Ole Miss two-sport star Tywone Malone
Still, the experience he has had since childhood does make the transition feel natural.
“I’ve been doing it my whole life so it’s pretty easy,” Malone said. “But just to do like actually playing it and just get out there with the guys, it is hard at first, but you’ve just got to dig deeper and keep going.”
Last season on the football field, Malone earned his first collegiate sack against Austin Peay. Perhaps an even more memorable college first came in the spring.
Against Virginia Commonwealth, Malone stepped to the plate and blasted a tape-measure home run over the right centerfield fence to give Ole Miss the runs it needed to win 14-3 due to the mercy rule.
“It felt amazing,” Malone said that day. “First time hitting at Swayze (Field), I know it was a big crowd and it was an amazing feeling to come out and swing it and finally get one.”
310-pound freshman Tywone Malone is an Ole Miss defensive tackle that also hits bombs in the spring pic.twitter.com/4FTjjC7dua
— Jomboy Media (@JomboyMedia) February 28, 2022
As happy as he was, his baseball coach, Mike Bianco, may have been even more thrilled than Malone.
“I just said it (on radio) you know walking up to the stadium today and I saw him and said, ‘Hey, man, you got a standing ovation just walking to the plate the other night, can you imagine when you hit a home run?’ I didn’t think he was going to hit a home run in a walk-off fashion. But just happy for him, he’s a unique kid and he deserves it.”
Coach Bianco after Malone’s home run
Malone finished the baseball season going 4-for-9 at the plate with a pair of home runs.
But once he put the bat and glove down, he knew it was time to pick up the helmet and shoulder pads.
“Right after the baseball season was over, I went home for a couple of days just for a mental break,” Malone said. “And I got back with my trainer and stuff like that so just me and him been working together and when I came down here it was back to get into business.”
So far for Malone, Ole Miss football and baseball, business has been good.
(Feature image credit: Josh McCoy, Ole Miss)
Steve Barnes joins The Rebel Walk staff as a senior writer and brings a trifecta of journalistic experience. As a writer, he has covered college sports for Rivals.com, Football.com and SaturdayDownSouth.com as well as served as a beat writer for various traditional newspapers.
He has been a broadcaster for arena football and several national tournament events for the National Junior College Athletic Association as well as hosting various shows on radio.
A former sports information director at Albany (Ga.) State University and an assistant at Troy and West Florida, he has helped host many NCAA conference, regional and national events, including serving five years on the media committee of the NCAA Division II World Series.
Barnes, a native of Pensacola, Fla., attended Ole Miss in 1983-84, where his first journalism teacher was David Kellum. The duo has come a long way since that time.
He will bring a proven journalistic track record, along with a knack for finding the out-of-the-ordinary story angles to The Rebel Walk.
Barnes continues to reside in Pensacola a mere ten minutes from the beach because he does have taste and a brain.