As everyone knows by now, Malik McDowell announced that he would be committing to Michigan State over his other three top schools (Michigan, Ohio State and Florida State). This is a very big get for Michigan State and completes a deep D-Line haul for the Spartans. While Michigan was very much in this decision until the end, Malik chose to go another direction and cited his relationship with the coaches and players at Michigan State as a determining factor. Even though Signing Day is in the books, it is not necessarily the end of the recruiting saga for the McDowells. In fact, I would wager that this is only the beginning.
As most know, the general procedure on Signing Day is to hold an event, typically at school in the gymnasium, and announce which school prospect X will be attending in the fall. After a short speech to thank various members of player X's circle, a Letter of Intent to attend college is usually signed in front of family and friends at said event. Once this Letter of Intent is signed, it will be faxed into the University of choice and the recruitment process is officially over. Usually.
This was not the case yesterday for Malik McDowell. What makes this situation a bit more interesting is the well-noted rift between Malik and his mother, Joya Crowe, regarding which school he would attend. Crowe is an outspoken Michigan supporter and if her son was to attend college in-state, she would want that to happen at Ann Arbor. Due to a series of events that occurred at Michigan State (which should remain undisclosed until Crowe feels the need to speak on the matter- if that happens), Crowe was left with a sour taste in her mouth regarding the Spartans. This only intensified during their in-home visit with Michigan State head coach Mark D'Antonio. His mom was present for that visit, and it did not go very well. At all.
These events created a further rift between McDowell and Crowe regarding his eventual college choice, which he announced to be Michigan State at his Southfield High School yesterday. Since that announcement, however, his Letter of Intent still has not been faxed into Michigan State. This could be due to a number of reasons, but a very good source with first-hand knowledge of the issue suggests that there is one main hindrance in this case- Greg McDowell, Malik's father, is not his legal guardian.
In order to create a binding agreement, a National Letter of Intent must be signed by a minimum of one legal guardian, of which Greg McDowell is not. This puts to onus on Crowe to sign her name on Malik's Letter of Intent to attend Michigan State, which is no small task on its own. As most parents would, Crowe is trying to guide her son down the right path, one that she does not feel should be traveled at Michigan State due to a conglomeration of reasons.
With his Letter of Intent currently unsigned and a cloudy outlook on when this could potentially happen, it is at least worth noting the possibility that he may not end up at Michigan State. If it were up to his mother, Malik would be attending college out of state. If he is attending college in-state, however, Ann Arbor is the location of choice in her eyes.
Herein lies the confusing nature of Malik's recruitment. Even after National Signing Day has passed, it is unclear where the five-star defensive end may end up. Even without sending in his Letter of Intent, McDowell can still attend Michigan State in the fall and possess an athletic scholarship while doing so. This is a path less traveled, but it has been done in the past. Michigan State would have to keep one scholarship open for Malik under the pretense that he arrives on campus in East Lansing sometime in August, and at that time he could begin training with the Spartans- without the signature of his mother.
If he does stay in-state, it is clear that his mother would like him at Michigan, that much is certain. With this much still yet to play out, it is difficult to forecast where Malik will unequivocally end up. A week ago, it would be difficult to grasp the concept that McDowell's recruitment could become even more convoluted in the coming days, but with yesterday's events it has done just that.
I caught up with Malik yesterday at HYPE Athletics to find out what put Michigan State over the top for him. Check out what he had to say: