Malik McDowell had made his fair share of visits to Michigan prior to making his way back for Sunday’s Barbecue at the Big House, but his latest experience proved to be a bit different because it was truly a family affair.
“His mom made it and a couple of his uncles came down with me,” McDowell’s father Greg stated. “That is the first time we were all there together, as far as his uncles and myself. We got a chance to talk to Brady, Fred Jackson and couple of the other coaches like Singletary and Mattison. I know how much they want him and see what his ceiling is. They feel like he can help take them to the next level… to where they want to be as far as Big Ten and beyond. So they definitely extended their hand a little bit more to us. They love him down there. Brady, Mattison… the whole staff. As far as they’re concerned they are looking at him to be something great for them.”
Unlike Malik and his mother, Greg McDowell hadn’t previously been party to one of Michigan’s academic tours. The memorable experience during his first one only improved what was already a favorable impression of the Maize & Blue.
“I was very impressed with how much they push their kids to excel as far as the alumni and how everybody extends they’re hands to former athletes after their football careers are over (in) college or whether they make it to the NFL,” said Mr. McDowell. “They have the opportunity to come back and the school has money set aside for them to come (back), so it was very impressive. Everything about Michigan today as far as I’m conderned was very impressive. I’m really even more high on them now (after seeing) those opportunities that would be afforded to my son.”
“(His mom) was impressed with it too. She stays in touch with them more than me. They’ve pretty much built the relationship with her. I’ve just been letting my son do what he wants to do and not getting too close to anybody until he says what he is going to do.”
"Malik is really impressed with (Michigan), but he is so laid back you never can tell what really (on his mind) unless you out-right ask him. He is impressed with Michigan and that is like his #1 right now."
That just might be music to the elder McDowell’s ears, even if he is dancing to it in obscurity. He is after all a lifelong Michigan fan that just so happened to rear his son to be the same.
“He pretty much took to Michigan,” Mr. MCDowell said regarding his offspring. “He was #1 Michigan, but he also liked Penn State. Those were the two teams he really liked watching play. Definitely he has always been into Michigan football. On Saturdays growing up with me, living with me, and being with me he knew that’s what was going to be on TV – Michigan football. When we’d go over to his grandmother’s house the TV was commandeered, and we were watching Michigan football.”
That childhood tendency, however, doesn’t guarantee that the four-star defensive end will become a Wolverine. He still maintains that his recruitment is wide open. That means a handful of other suitors will have ample opportunity to win his allegiance this fall.
“As far as his official visits it’s probably going to be Ohio State, LSU, Alabama,” Mr. McDowell reported. “We might get out to USC and then Florida or Florida State. The last time we talked that’s what he was looking at, but it could change.”
“He has been up to (Michigan and Michigan State) so much. He’s up at those schools whenever they’ve got something going on. Football, basketball games… they’re inviting him up, and of course he is (already) interacting some of the players and coaches. So as far as using an official visit to go to see a hometown team it really wouldn’t make sense since he is up there all the time.”
For now young McDowell’s focus shifting away from recruiting and back towards the high school gridiron. After cutting through a bit of red tape stemming from his move to his father’s residence and subsequent transfer, the talented youngster is ready to get acclimated to his new surroundings at Southfield high school.”
“It has been resolved,” said Mr. McDowell. We’ve got everything straight. Everything is good as far as him being able to play and practice. He’ll be officially practicing with Southfield next week.”
Stay tuned for much more from McDowell in the days to come.