UM Puts Full Court Press on McDowell (Part 1)

Michigan's last face to face meeting with Southfield (Mich.) star Malik McDowell put into action as if it were a game plan. The quartet of coaches had a series of points to address with the state's top prospect. When the dust from their morning-long session ended that had given the talented youngster a great deal to think about.

Michigan’s version of a cavalry descended upon Southfield high school to meet with Malik McDowell and his parents this morning.  By the end of the meeting the Maize & Blue crew of Brady Hoke, Greg Mattison, Fred Jackson, and Roy Manning had made a strong impression.

“(What stood out was) their commitment to him and showing him that he is going to be ‘that guy’,” McDowell’s father stated.  “Greg Mattison was really letting Malik know that if he comes to Michigan (Mattison) plans on playing him in that five or six technique, keeping him on the outside and lining him up against tight ends and tackles where he won’t get double teamed.  His production will be high at that outside spot (thanks to) getting the opportunities. Greg Mattison said that he sees him as being a great pass rusher.  That’s what stood out with Malik also, the opportunity (to play outside) instead of going inside and possibly being double teamed where your production is not that high (because) you’re facing two guys as opposed to one guy.  He said that there will not be a tight end anywhere in the country that can block him.  It’s the same pretty much with a tackle also (because of) his athleticism.  I think that impressed me the most, and Malik he was sitting there and he was understanding what was going on.  And the fact that they brought four of the coaches in, it was like, ‘hey, we really want this kid!’ Then Malik was having the most hands on with Greg Mattison and just talking about the Michigan program and where they expect to be in the next couple of years.”

But the talk about football was covered in a concise part of the Wolverines’ presentation.  Michigan’s brain-trust focused a great deal more time discussing the off-field aspects of Michigan, both social and academic.  It has become increasingly clear to the five-star prospect’s parents that his visit experiences at Michigan State resonated more than those from other schools.  While it’s clear that the near unprecedented success in East Lansing was a head-turner, it appears that his appreciation for the social scene in East Lansing helped the Green & White on a pedestal of sorts.  That issue wasn’t lost on the visiting Michigan contingent, and Manning was particularly adept at tackling that issue head on.

“(Manning) was letting (Malik) know that, ‘you’ll have a good time up there, but it’s not about that.  It is about you going in there and get your academics and getting your football on.  But the good times are up there too’,” recalled Mr. McDowell.  “It is not like a Michigan State party atmosphere all the time or what not… and I can’t totally speak and say that is what Michigan State is all about… but in my opinion Michigan State and the University of Michigan are apples and oranges.  It is just what (Michigan) presented as far as what they could do for him and the overall academic standpoint… a top ten, top five school as far as academics and whatever else they have to offer.”

Both of McDowell’s parents have made it a point to encourage the utilization of a broad list of criteria, with an emphasis on attributes that lend themselves to his development in football and beyond.  Guiding their young All-American into thinking that way is an ongoing process.

“Malik is just 17 and he’s thinking about what’s happening now, but you’ve got to think about what is going to be happening in the future,” Mr. McDowell stated.  “The decision that he makes now can either hurt his future or help his future.  So that’s what it is about.  It is not what you want right now, it is what you’ve got to do right now and what you need to do.  In the next four years, God willing, he will be at the level that he want to be in, and that’s the pro level.  But you’ve got to have something to fall back on and falling back on the Michigan degree in my opinion won’t hurt his chances at all in life.”

Stay tuned for much more on McDowell in part two coming tomorrow.

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