Does McDowell Already Have Mind Made Up?

With Southfield (Mich.) DE Malik McDowell set to take an official visit to Michigan State this weekend, speculation about him being a heavy Spartan lean has picked up in intensity. Is the race already over for Michigan and all of his other suitors?

For months Southfield (Mi.) DE Malik McDowell mentioned a visit plan that called for him to bypass using officials on his in-state suitors so he could use all five for further away locales.  That changed earlier this week when opted to move his planned trip to LSU down a week so he could take an unexpected trip to East Lansing this weekend.

“I think it’s because of the Michigan-Michigan State (basketball) game,” McDowell’s father Greg explained.

The match-up between the league’s top two teams is set to be the entertainment centerpiece of what is supposed to be a big visit weekend for the Spartans.  Whatever the reason for McDowell’s planned presence, it certainly appears to be a boon for Michigan State’s chances at landing him.  It also further fans the speculative flames suggesting a commitment to the Green & White is on the horizon. Dad has heard those the rumors and he has a rebuttal.

“No he is not committing to nothing,” Mr. McDowell stated.  “It’s not Malik’s decision just on his own. We are going to go with the best program with the best academics.  (Picking Michigan State) is not set in stone at all.” 

That said, it’s obvious the Spartans have risen significantly up the newly anointed five-star prospect’s list.  Another overnight trip to East Lansing gives the Spartans an opportunity to combat the positive impressions formed during his more recent trips, like the one he took last week to Florida State.

 “He likes Florida State,” Mr. McDowell reported.  “He said it’s real good from what his mom told me.  I talked to her today.  She was saying he liked it a lot.  So I believe they are heavy contenders too.” 

Even so it still looks like proximity to home will loom large during the talented youngster’s deliberation process.  The ability for family to come see him play is a factor that has grown increasingly important.  That’s especially true when it comes to his grandmother.

“You know about what’s special with my mom?  Ever since he has been playing football and she comes to see him play, I believe he gets a little bit more excited about her being there,” explained Mr. McDowell.  “That is something he is weighing too.  We talked a few times about his options.  He has always mentioned my mother, his grandmother, thinking about her being able to come see him play and not have to travel too much. He thinks about that.” 

That’s one of many considerations.  Chief among them, however, is a staff that can handle all aspects of his development.  The elder McDowell insists he is helping make that assessment with an extremely open mind and without any predetermined biases or favoritism

“As far as I’m concerned, I’m not getting connected to any of (the coaches) mostly at all,” he said. “At the end of the day, it is all about Malik.  So it’s not like I’m trying to build relationships with all these different schools (and then) at the end we pick one.  It is just about who is going to take care of my son at the end of the day and where he is going to fit in and come right in and get the opportunity to play.” 

“And with the understanding of all the write ups I see with people talking about him possibly being offensive side....  If (his future coaches) want the best out of Malik they are going to have to play him where he wants to play and that is on the defensive side of the ball.  So anybody talking about anything outside of that we are not even considering, and they understand that.  This is about him and I know they are leaders of the institution as far as football goes, but also it is about making my son happy.  If they want him, that is what they plan to do and that is what they are going to have to do.  As far as me getting in and building up a relationship with all these different coaches…everybody has got the same pitch saying about what they can do, what he can do for them, and what they plan on doing (together).  Everybody has got the same pitch.  At the end of the day, I’m looking at who got the best opportunity for him to succeed outside of football.”

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