One of the top available defensive lineman in the recruiting class of 2014 has made his collegiate decision, as Malik McDowell has committed to Michigan State on Wednesday. The five-star defensive end chose MSU over 17 other FBS offers, including fellow finalists Michigan, Ohio State, and Florida State.
On tape, McDowell is more disruptive operating on the interior than he is at defensive end. There he displays good vision and tracks the ball well, often times making plays well out of his playing area. This is also a testament to his motor. He spends lot of snaps lined up either as a one tech shade nose guard or a two technique defensive tackle.
Ultimately, McDowell is a recruit with plenty of size and traits that translate well to the next level. He'll need to have some of the technical flaws coached out of his game, but when that happens, he figures to develop into an exceptional performer. His highest defensive projection is likely as an interior lineman.
A consensus blue-chip recruit, McDowell is projected as a strong-side defensive end at the next level. Listed at 6'7 and 290 pounds, he attends Southfield (Mich.) High School and hails from Detroit. ESPN considers him a defensive tackle, while the rest of the recruiting services list him as an end. Either way, he's expected to crash some backfields.
His decision involved some major family drama, with his parents wanting him to leave the state of Michigan. His mother particularly wasn't a fan of Michigan State, telling multiple media outlets that something happened during his time with the Spartans that didn't sit well with her. His father softened that stance before the announcement on ESPNU, saying the family will support him no matter what.
The 247Sports Composite ranks him as the 32nd-best prospect in the class, the third-best strong-side defensive end and the best player in the state of Michigan.