Malik McDowell’s recruitment will ultimately boil down the school that he decides he wants to attend, but he won’t make that choice without his family’s consultation. One of the more notable opinions in his circle will be that of his mother. While dad has been more on the periphery as McDowell sorts through the schools on his list, his mom Joya Crowe has been right at the forefront speaking to the schools whenever possible. Her latest recruiting experience came Sunday during Michigan’s annual Barbecue at the Big House. It was just the latest in a long line of impressive interactions with the Wolverines thanks to the strong emphasis placed on academics.
“I’d previously had the opportunity to do the academic side at Michigan,” said Crowe. “I actually told his dad about it, and this (barbecue visit) was mainly for him. I said ‘you need to go through the academics at Michigan also’ because I was very, very, really, really, really impressed. They have a program called M-PACT, and oh my God, I am so… I love it! It’s awesome. I was telling his dad about it, so we took the opportunity to let him go through the academics. This was my second time going through it. They have some great programs. I’m real impressed with both the sports and the academics. I really like it. It’s definitely a place I would give some serious consideration to.”
Part of the reason the Michigan Professional and Career Transition (M-PACT) Program has left such indelible mark on mom is because she sees how it could have impacted her own career path.
“I went into marketing and I don’t know why,” she said. “I think they teach the kids to understand why you’re choosing (a major). It’s not just ‘ok, I’m just going to do this because this is the easy way.’ Find something you really like and want to do and then we’ll build off of that. As I was saying, I chose marketing and I don’t like marketing. I never worked in my major. If that program would have been around when I was in college that would have been awesome. It’s just awesome. I am so impressed with it. I love it.”
“It’s basically like they help the students determine what they want to do outside of football. So say if they do get to go to the NFL, and say they do ten or fifteen years… then once that’s all over with she talks about how football players or just (athletes) in general… once the sport ends and that activity is over and done with, what are you going to do next? People don’t think past that. They don’t know what to do. It’s just like they’re kind of lost out there. They teach the kids how to get a career outside of sports. I really like that. What you really want to do?”
Adding to mom’s comfort with the Maize & Blue has been her connection with its coaches. The numerous trips to Ann Arbor have allowed her to form some early bonds with Michigan’s staff.
“Coach Hoke and Coach Singletary… and I think I know more coaches at Michigan than I do anywhere else,” Crowe stated. “The coaches, the academic advisers… I think I have more connection with Michigan than I have with any other school so far. I’ve been up there so many times. I’ve been up to Michigan more than I’ve been anywhere.”
“Everyone is so nice and it’s like they remember your name. They make you feel right at home. They make you feel comfortable. It’s no pressure. You know how sometimes you can go somewhere and people can try to pressure you, or force you, or push you? ‘You need to make a decision.’ There’s no pressure, so I don’t have that feeling of ‘oh my God, I don’t want to go up there’ because I know they’re not going to be badgering me, or just on us. They let us relax and they come over and talk to you, but they just kind of talk to you in general… just like ‘how are you doing? How’s your family doing?’ (We) talk about their family. I have met all their families. It’s kind of like a normal get-together. You don’t feel like you’re really pressured.”
“(Notre Dame assistant) Coach (Chuck) Martin, I only met like one time. He was a really nice guy. I really liked Notre Dame. We did get an unofficial visit there and that was really nice. I’m impressed with Notre Dame and that’s a nice school. Then Michigan State, Coach (Terrence) Samuel is a really nice guy and I have a rapport with him. I speak to him on Facebook and he’s a really nice coach. And Coach Dantonio… he’s funny and he’s nice.”
“Michigan State makes you feel right at home, and they’re really nice.”
All three schools will have chances to strengthen their positions during visits in the fall. So too will a number of others. McDowell is still in the process of determining his official visit schedule, but mom has already shared her thoughts on what she things a few of the stops should be. She also has expressed her desire to make it to as many of them as she can. Or at the very least, as many as her son is willing to let her attend.
“I’d like to go to all of them, but he said I can’t,” Crowe said laughingly. “I think he’s going to do Florida. If he goes there, I want to go to Florida. (Laughter). If he goes to California, I do want to go to that one. I would like for him to visit Alabama. “
“I figure if you’re going to do the official visits, do it to the schools that (are far away). I feel like why take an official visit to Michigan when we did unofficial visits? Michigan, Michigan State, and places like Ohio State, we can always go visit them unofficially, so I would say if you’re going to do your official visits, do it to the schools that are far away.”Stay tuned to GoBlueWolverine for much more on McDowell in the coming days and weeks.