Malcolm Pridgeon was a late addition to Ohio State's 2016 recruiting class, but his commitment was still met with plenty of fanfare, and for good reason.
Pridgeon, a junior college transfer, was a five-star offensive line recruit who had the build and talent to compete for a starting spot right away. During fall camp, though, Pridgeon suffered a knee injury that kept him out for about three months, effectively guaranteeing that he would redshirt this season.
While he's still not going to make an impact for the 2016 Buckeyes, Pridgeon is healthy and back in practice, and head coach Urban Meyer said the player has a bright future ahead of him.
"He's going to be a very good player here," Meyer said Dec. 15. "He's not prepared to play, he's practicing with us just as an individual, no scout work yet. He's a guy we all love to death. He's gone above and beyond what we've asked of him, so that's why we did that."
Pridgeon had been expected to compete with Jamarco Jones and Isaiah Prince for a starting tackle spot, but Jones actually locked up his left tackle position before Pridgeon arrived on campus, and more or less Prince solidified the right tackle slot before Pridgeon's injury.
Now with a full regular season as a starter under his belt, Jones said it's been good to have Pridgeon back for bowl practice.
"He's starting to practice more and more so it's great to have him out there," Jones said. "He had a tough injury and he was playing really well in camp when it happened and you just hate to see someone go down like that. He took his training and therapy really seriously and I know he's excited and can't wait. It'll be fun to have him back out there and full-go in spring ball."
Pridgeon's still got plenty of time left in his collegiate career. He arrived at Ohio State with three years to play two, so he'll be eligible in 2017 and 2018 for the Buckeyes.
Next season, Ohio State will have at least one spot on the offensive line opening up – starting center Pat Elflein's eligibility is up after the postseason wraps up. Depending how position battles shake out, Pridgeon should be firmly in the mix for a starting spot next season.