By: Will Burchfield
@burchie_kid

Malik McDowell is taking his game to the next level.

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Michigan State’s junior defensive tackle announced via Twitter that he will forego his final season of eligibility in favor of entering the NFL Draft.

McDowell, a product of Southfield High, was a freshman All-American in 2014 and second-team All-Big Ten in both 2015 and 2016. He is the 11th best draft prospect in this year’s class according to CBSsports.com and the top-ranked defensive tackle.

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Before this season began, McDowell indicated he would only declare for the draft if he were projected as a top-three pick.

“Top 10 ain’t good enough for me. I ain’t leaving if I’m (only) top 10. If I’m not top three, I don’t leave,” McDowell said, according to the Free Press. “Really. I’m just trying to live day by day. It’s one through three, that’s the only way I’m going. I’m happy, I like it here, I ain’t really in a rush to leave.”

Whether or not McDowell had a change of heart is unclear. He doesn’t appear to be a top-three draft pick at the moment, but there’s a possibility his agent convinced him otherwise. Perhaps Michigan State’s dreary season further influenced his decision.

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In nine games in 2016, McDowell had 34 tackles, including seven for loss and 1.5 sacks.