Several Big Ten recruiting targets will announce their college choices on national signing day, and perhaps none will generate more regional attention than Malik McDowell. The 6-foot-6, 260-pound defensive lineman from Southfield, Mich., rated as the nation's No. 60 overall player by ESPN Recruiting Nation, is deciding among four schools, three of which are in the Big Ten: Michigan State, Michigan and Ohio State.
McDowell visited Ohio State last weekend after visiting Michigan State the previous week. His destination remains a mystery, and he'll announce his choice at 9:30 a.m. ET Wednesday.
While McDowell has had positive things to say about all four schools, his parents are hesitant about their son playing close to home. Some recruiting analysts have considered Michigan State the favorite to land McDowell, including ESPN's Tom Luginbill, and McDowell told Rivals.com that he's most comfortable with MSU. But McDowell's mother made it clear Monday that she would prefer her son not end up in East Lansing.
From the Detroit Free Press:
"We don't want him at MSU," Malik's mother, Joya Crowe, said Monday night, and she gave multiple reasons.
"Something happened; I don't want to put it out there what it was," she said of her son's recent official visit, "but I had a bad experience at MSU."
Asked to elaborate, she said: "It was something on my end, I don't want to get into specifics."
Crowe said she and Malik's father, Greg McDowell, also fear "too much social life" at MSU.
"I want him to get a good education," Crowe said. "Not that he can't get a good education at MSU. But he also wants to be a first-round pick after college. Nothing is guaranteed, but I don't think their defensive line coach has the background for that."
Crowe's last remark is a bit of a head-scratcher. Didn't Spartans defensive end Shilique Calhoun become a second-team All-American last year under the watch of first-year line coach Ron Burton?
As Free Press reporter Joe Rexrode wrote on Twitter, Crowe's comment about Burton reeks of negative recruiting from another McDowell suitor. Would it be enough to push McDowell away from MSU?
The bigger issue is the apparent desire of both of McDowell's parents for their son to leave the state because of the potential distractions there. Ohio State fans certainly hope it's the case. It would be a blow to the Big Ten if McDowell picks Florida State, as the Big Ten needs to keep as many of the region's elite prospects as possible.
We've seen recruits defy their parents' wishes with their college choices before. Running back Alex Collins, a 2013 recruit, wanted to attend Arkansas but his mother refused to sign his national letter of intent, wanting Collins to play for Miami. Collins eventually got his father to sign the letter, and he rushed for 1,026 as a freshman for the Razorbacks this past season.
It will be interesting to see how much influence McDowell's folks have on his selection.
As Crowe told the Free Press, "It'll be one of the hats on the table. I hope he makes the right decision."