UM Makes Strong Impression on McDowell

Recruiting has ratcheted up rapidly in recent weeks for Detroit Loyola sophomore DE, Malik McDowell. The talented youngster is determined to take a patient approach to his recruitment, but he has begun taking visits. He made his way to Michigan's spring game with his father last Saturday and came away extremely impressed. The elder McDowell shared his thoughts on the visit, the coaches, and more.

Sam Webb: Looks like recruiting is picking up pretty quickly for your son.  I know it’s all new to you guys, but how are you taking it all in so far?

Greg McDowell: “Like you said, we’re new to it but it’s been a good experience for him, more so than me. I’m enjoying the fact that my son is getting exposure and he’s doing something he loves to do. And as far as me, being a father, to see my son doing something that he possibly could take to the next level as far as going to college and getting an education-- that’s big for me and for the rest of his family also. As far as visits and things like that, it’s a great opportunity for him to see that you can go further in life by staying committed to what he’s doing as far as school. He’s mainly about his education and his athletics, so anything as far as that has been a pretty good experience.

Sam Webb: Was there a point early on that you knew he was going to be a highly recruited kid?

Greg McDowell: “I really can’t pinpoint exactly where I thought he might have that type of potential, but I would say from the time he was playing PAL football and then went into his freshman year was when I started to see his dominance.  At a young age him being able to perform against older kids and perform well against them. I figured that he had a pretty good chance to develop into a dominant football player. I didn’t think he would do it at this early stage. I thought it would take him until his junior year to really really show his potential, but watching him and seeing him in practice and seeing the things he do on the football field, it came to me that he has a lot of potential to be a great player on the college level, and one day possibly playing on Sunday.”

Sam Webb: I know his coach took him up to Michigan State. What did he say about how he liked it up in East Lansing?

Greg McDowell: “He liked the campus overall. He didn’t really get a chance to see what really they were doing. I don’t think it was their spring game so it was more of a practice type feel.  Him and one of his fellow classmates -- they got an opportunity to talk to Coach Dantonio and I guess a few of the players and a few more of the coaching staff. Him being young and a kid and being much heralded recruit at such an early age, I really don’t think it’s really hit him yet.  He still has two years before things have to get serious for him. He hasn’t said one way or the other which one really really impressed him. He was pretty impressed with both of them.

Sam Webb: So what about Saturday at Michigan?  What did you think of that whole atmosphere, the spring game, and the coaches?

Greg McDowell: “Well we got a chance to meet Coach Jackson and several other coaches – Montgomery and Mattison. As far as the atmosphere and everything, for me it was pretty exciting.  I’ve always been a U of M fan, and Malik has too, and that atmosphere was great!  I’d never been to the Big House and being out there with my son and getting a feel for what possibly could happen for him… that was pretty exciting for me as a father.”

Sam Webb: So that was the first visit you’d ever been on with him and the first time for both of you guys at Michigan Stadium?

Greg McDowell: “Yeah, that was my first visit with him. I don’t know of any other visits for him other than the Michigan State visit, and I had to work at my shop.  (Saturday) I didn’t open up, so I was able to go up there. I told his Coach, Coach Cal, that I would take him up there (to Michigan). I wanted to be with him so he can let the coaches know he has a parental figure in his life that’s going to be there every step of the way.”

Sam Webb: What did Michigan say to you guys about position? I know it’s a long way down the line, but did they kind of tell you what position they’re eyeing him for?

Greg McDowell: “Yeah… Coach Mattison, when he approached us he came right out and said he wants him to be his next Terrell Suggs.  That’s a high compliment to put him in the regard of a Terrell Suggs and all, so when he said that I was amazed that they think my son has the potential to be that caliber of player. I think as far as Malik is concerned, and the coaches and anybody who has talked to him as far as his coach, pretty much knows he wants to be on the defensive side of the ball. He loves the defensive side of the ball. “

Sam Webb: I know it’s new, and I talked to Coach Cal about it as well, but what are you guys kind of stressing for him to look for in a school.  Also, what are you guys stressing as far as timeline for making a decision is concerned?

Greg McDowell: “As far as a timeline, we’re just going to sit down as family and consider all his options as far as what would be the best school for him.   Not just saying, ‘stay home so you can be close to family.’  Whoever is going to offer the most on the academic side of it -- that’s where my concern is. I know it’s going to be good on the football end as far as the scholarship, but my concern is ensuring that my son’s going to leave there with a degree. I feel like if my son is recruited by a school and they offer him a scholarship I want that school to make sure that my son’s going to leave with a degree.”

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