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Monday, February 3, 2014
Final four teams battle for McDowell

By Tom VanHaaren

ESPN 300 defensive lineman Malik McDowell (Southfield, Mich./Southfield) is the highest-ranked prospect in the Midwest who has yet to make his commitment. At No. 60 overall, McDowell is down to Florida State, Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State.

Malik McDowell
DE Malik McDowell, No. 60 in the ESPN 300, is down to Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State and Florida State.
McDowell will announce his decision on signing day, and he will be a big addition to whichever school he picks. He and his parents are ready for the process to be over, as his father, Greg, described it as a circus.

With college coaches coming in to make last efforts to sway the big lineman, McDowell and his family are set to sit down Monday night to try to finalize his decision.

“We’ll know later on [Monday] exactly how it’s going to go for him,” Greg said. “We will sit down and go over the pros and cons of each school. We just have to sit back and see who has the best offer.”

Florida State: McDowell took an official visit to see the Seminoles. Coming off a national championship, Florida State has a lot to offer.

In fact, FSU might be the school his parents would like to see their son choose on Wednesday.

“As far as myself, I think he should leave town. I think he should leave the state because he has some friends who aren’t athletes,” Greg said. “I don’t want them to be a distraction. If he stays close to home, they’re capable of driving up and distracting him. I want him to establish himself on his own.”

McDowell might not be leaning towards Florida State right now, though, which is why it might take some convincing from his parents.

Ohio State: Ohio State received the last visit from McDowell, so the coaches got to make the final impression.

The Buckeyes are very much in this race, and they might be a good compromise for the family since it is not in the state but close enough to home for McDowell.

“It’s about Malik being happy, too. I want him to at least consider it, and at the end of the day, give these schools a serious look,” Greg said. “Who can get you to the next level, give you a good education and a football career.”

Michigan State: This is where most of the debate between the family seems to come into play. McDowell has the Spartans very high on his list and could end up choosing Michigan State on signing day.

The Spartans have improved their stock along the way, and if McDowell gets his way, this might be the landing spot.

Michigan: At one point, the Wolverines were the team to beat in this race. That seems to have changed drastically over the past few months.

McDowell could still end up picking Michigan, but based on conversations with his family, it seems less and less likely. Michigan is the closest school geographically to his hometown, which would be the opposite of what his parents are hoping for.

If McDowell does pick Michigan, it would help ease the sting of losing out on five-star defensive end Da’Shawn Hand (Woodbridge, Va./Woodbridge), who chose Alabama.

There is only one thing that's certain in McDowell’s decision: Anything can happen and no one knows just yet where he will land.