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Five-star DE recruit may not be coming to Michigan State after all; drama ensues

On Wednesday, when it was announced that five-star DE recruit Malik McDowell had signed with the Michigan State Spartans, everyone in the land of Green and White was jumping for joy.

Five-star DE recruit Malik McDowell may have signed with Michigan State, but may have not; a commitment could be forthcoming.
(Getty Images/AP Photos)

McDowell is the top recruit in the state out of Southfield (Mi.) and is rated by as the No. 38 player in the country and the No. 2 strongside defensive end in the nation. It seemed that despite some previous apprehensions his parents may have had over Malik joining the Spartans, that the young player had finally convinced his parents that it was the right place for him to be and he signed his commitment letter.

Only trouble is, that letter that Malik signed? It wasn't the official letter of intent; it was just a blank piece of paper he wrote his name on for the cameras.

It has been no secret that McDowell's parents have not wanted their son to play for Michigan State. Originally-touted as being sought by Michigan, Ohio State and Florida State over MSU, Malik's visit to East Lansing and seeing the program's dedication to developing defensive talent apparently changed all that for the young star. The McDowell family raised Malik to be a Michigan Wolverines fan, as they have been for some time, but lately, Malik's sympathies have changed.

Then, of course, there was the trouble that brewed with McDowell's mother, Joya Crowe, who told the Detroit Free Press that she didn’t wish to see her son play at MSU because “something happened” during his recent official visit to East Lansing, on which Crowe wouldn’t elaborate. Sports Illustrated then reported that the young defensive end talked with current Spartans players about not going to class, which upset his mother.

Malik's father, Greg McDowell, also told the Free Press that he wanted Malik to play somewhere out of state, meaning likely Ohio State or Florida State. His father thought this would be the best way for his son to avoid "distractions" while playing college football.

Despite all of that, Malik decided to go with his gut and announced his commitment to play football at Michigan State and "signed" the letter to play on Wednesday, after which his father told the Free Press' Mandy Wright that if his son chose MSU, he would support him.

"I felt like (Michigan State) can get the best out of me," said the young player, adding that the recruiting process was "really stressful."

The issue arises here: If McDowell didn't actually sign a real letter of intent, as is being reported by Mike Farrell of and Joe Rexrode of, then he's still not officially committed to anywhere, and in order to sign with a program, he'll need the signature of at least one of his parents, since he is under 21. Greg McDowell has already said that if his son chose Michigan State, he would support him, so the issue of getting the letter signed is not a big deal.

But, according to Rexrode, Malik said he would not sign the letter at all on Wednesday and would do it at a later time, which implies that there is still a major disagreement going on within the McDowell household.

Only time will tell at this point if Malik decides to sign and in the end, it might just not be with the Spartans after all.

You can follow MSU writer, Michael Ferro, at

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