Though he once considered making his commitment before the start of his senior season, instead he'll take his time. He plans to make all five of his official visits then finalize his recruitment once his final high school campaign comes to an end.
"I'm just going to worry about my senior season, take a few trips and then make my decision," McDowell said. "I'm just going to wait it out. No hurry…I'm just taking my time with this. I don't want to commit to a school then decommit. I just want to take my time with this process. It's once in a lifetime."
McDowell said his top four in no order are LSU, Ole Miss, Arkansas and Tennessee. He said he'll definitely take official visits to those first three, then probably trip to Florida and USC as well.
McDowell hit the road this summer camping at both LSU and Ole Miss and also participated in The Opening.
"I did all those camps because I wanted to get better at my position," McDowell said. "I wanted to learn stuff from the coaches, so I can put that into my season."
At that prestigious camp in Oregon, McDowell was one of the standout performs along the defensive line. Louisiana was well-represented up in the Northwest, and McDowell had chances to line up next to Edna Karr's Gerald Willis and go one-on-one against West Monroe's Cameron Robinson.
"It's only once in a lifetime, so I got the most out of it," McDowell said. "It's the best of the best. It was a great experience. I met a lot of new faces."
As for McDowell's recruitment, he claims he's still wide open with all his suitors. Most considered the LSU offer he received earlier this summer would put the Tigers well in front, but McDowell said he's taking his time to ensure he makes the right decision.
He does admit though that his relationship with LSU DL coach Brick Haley, his lead recruiter, is strong.
"I communicate with him a lot," McDowell said. "He hits me up on Facebook and texts my phone, asks how my family's doing…Me and Coach Brick are real close. He's always calling me and asking when I want to come see him."
Size has always been a big talking point with McDowell. He said he's 6-foot-1.5, 255 pounds right now, and hopes to bulk up to 265 by the end of his senior year. LSU likes his potential as an interior lineman, and he'll move all over the line for Covington this season, saying he'll go wherever the opponent's biggest strength is.
With his ability, it'll be rare when teams actually run his way, and he said he's working to counteract that.
"I'm working on [beating] double teams, trying to get better at that," McDowell said. "I know a lot of teams aren't going to run the ball at me, so it's all about effort. I'm working on that and getting in shape."
In a scrimmage Thursday against Zachary and reigning state champion Parkview Baptist, McDowell had several tackles for loss, forced a fumble and even scored a pair of touchdowns as part of the Lions' goal line package.
So his role isn't just limited to defense.
"It's going to be big," McDowell said. "The coaches have to be the best of the best in the games to score touchdowns."
What do you think of LSU's chances to land McDowell?