By Ashley Dunkak
CBS DETROIT – Five-star defensive line recruit Malik McDowell is headed to Michigan State.
The decision comes as quite a surprise considering the way McDowell’s parents had opposed the idea of their son signing on with the Spartans, but the Southfield senior was convinced.
“I felt like they can get the best out of me,” McDowell said. “Knew probably a couple weeks back.”
“I took a lot of input from my family,” he continued. “I listened to what they said, but I still had to make my own decision.”
McDowell made his announcement at a large assembly in the gym of Southfield High School, sitting as the last player in a long line of students who were announcing their college choice and signing letters of intent.
Despite McDowell’s abilities, the buzz around him leading up to National Signing Day had revolved more around his parents than him.
The lineman’s parents, Greg McDowell and Joya Crowe, told multiple media outlets that the Southfield senior wanted to go to Michigan State, but they prefer for him to go elsewhere.
According to USA Today, Crowe said she had a bad experience at Michigan State on her son’s official visit, and she also mentioned that “too much social life” at Michigan State could be detrimental. Crowe also questioned whether Spartans defensive line coach Ron Burton has the background to develop her son into a first-round NFL draft pick.
McDowell said he took their opinions into account but made his own selection and got mixed reviews as a result.
“I told them I wanted to go to State about a month back,” McDowell said. “Mom, it was an iffy reaction. We didn’t talk for long. My dad said he’s backing me whatever I want to do.”
As for what separated Michigan State from the rest of the contender, McDowell simply said he liked what he saw in East Lansing in many regards.
“The school environment, the academics, the coaches,” McDowell said. “I hit it off real well with the coaches.”
McDowell’s final four options reportedly included Michigan State, Michigan, Ohio State and Florida State. He had earlier ruled out Alabama and LSU, among many other options. 247sports.com ranked McDowell as the No. 32 recruit in the nation and the No. 1 recruit in the state of Michigan.