Malik McDowell Spurns Parents, Chooses Sparty

By Jeremy Birmingham on February 5, 2014 at 10:07a

Against his parent's wishes, 6-foot-7, 290 pound defensive lineman Malik McDowell, a five-star prospect, has chosen Michigan State today in a signing day announcement at Southfield High School. 

McDowell's parents were vocal in their wishes that he'd get out of Michigan for college. His father told Steve Wiltfong of he wanted his son to choose Ohio State or Florida State, but McDowell called an audible today and selected the Spartans. The question now becomes whether or not his parents will acquiesce and sign his national letter of intent so that he can officially enroll in East Lansing.

Ohio State could be waiting another ten days or so to see if they've added another Michigan State commitment, New Jersey's Darius Slade, to their docket. Slade announced this morning he'd not sign with Michigan State and will make an official visit to Ohio State on February 15th. 

Source: @TimS_Wolverine


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sharks's picture

Dinner is going to be tense in the McDowell household for the next few days

A man got to have a code...

hit_the_couch's picture

Made me think of this old gem.

And then I told her...i'm no weatherman, but tonight's forecast is calling for several inches!

cinserious's picture

Dinner is going to be tense in the McDowell household for the next few days

Is that so? Do tell...

One day I will valiantly become a political prisoner of 11W jail.

buckguyfan1's picture

Ok, good luck to him.  We have a fantastic class!

Crimson's picture

Good luck to McDowell at MSU.  It's hard to blame him for making his own choice, even when his parents were completely against it.

HolyBuckeye1093's picture

Poor scUM. Don't worry, I'm sure they never really wanted him anyway!

blueinsconsin's picture

I'm pretty sure many schools wanted him (yours included)

Not here to troll...Go Blue

703Buckeye's picture

I'm pretty sure 1093 forgot his sarcasm font.

"Attack the Strong, Trample the Weak, Hurdle the Dead!"
-Former OSU S&C Coach Lichter

AndyVance's picture

Pretty sure it wasn't necessary. Good sarcasm doesn't require a separate font (Hodge... Oyster... back me up on this, will ya?)

Buckeyevstheworld's picture

You're right.

"YOLO" = I'm about to do something extremely ignorant/stupid & I need an excuse to do it.

DeepSouthBuckeye's picture

Read on twitter where his mom would not even go up to take pictures with him. That is really sad. This kid just got a full ride to college. Even if it wasn't the choice of the parents, they need to be supportive. Hopefully they remember that this kids talents just saved them about 100K over the next couple years...

Loving all things Buckeye from SEC country in Alabama.

"How firm thy friendship....O-HI-O"

jeremytwoface's picture

Wait... Parents have to pay for college now!?
I need to call my mom and dad up so they can start paying on my student loans.

And when we win the game, we'll buy a keg of boooooooooze!! And we'll drink to old Ohio 'till we wobble in our shoes.

German Buckeye's picture

Army GI Bill FTW....

BuckGnome's picture

Absolutely.  Here antics throughout her son's recruiting process were ridiculous.  Going to the press and saying stuff that this wasn't just her son's decision, and bashing his preference etc. on the radio, this lady needs to check herself.

BlueBayou's picture

In all fairness, his dad was quite vocal against MSU too.  All I can say is that I am really curious what happened at his MSU OV, as that seems to have been the turning point and both parents got very vocal against MSU after it.  (Various rumors such as MSU players told Malik he didn't have to go to class there, MSU coaches telling Malik to man up because it was his choice and he didn't need to listen to his parents, supposedly said in front of his parents, and then there are worse ones I won't repeat)  I don't know if we will ever truly know what happened that weekend, but I don't think I've ever seen a OV lead to such a drastic negative reaction from parents. 

NC_Buckeye's picture

Sounded like the parents wanted to get him away from local influences. Which I'm interpreting as that his parents think his friends are not good influences on him. And that him getting away from them might be for the best.
As a stupid kid, I disregarded a lot of mom & dad's wisdom. As an adult, I would like to shake 18-yo NC_Buckeye, tell him he's an idiot, and to do what the folks suggest.
But maybe I'm reading too much into what's going on with Malik.

Gametime's picture

So what, we're doing PC crap with parenting now? The people who gave birth to him and made sacrifices to put him in that position to go to college should have a say in where he attends school, especially if they have very valid, specific reasons for NOT wanting him in the state of Michigan.

No age number separates you from the wisdom of honoring your great parents and I'm sure they know the kid they've been raising a lot better than we do. It's obvious that they feel he is prone to some pitfalls that could ruin his potential. They're allowed to disapprove of his decision especially if it's a "social life" issue they witnessed and had a problem with.

Between goals and achievement is discipline and consistency. That fire you have inside to do whatever you love is placed there by God. Now go claim it. ~ Denzel Washington

Run_Fido_Run's picture

It's also quite likely that his parents caring so much about him and being involved in his life choices partly contributed to his great success up to this point - i.e., the dynamic that some of us are criticizing is the same dynamic that helped give him the opportunity to defy that dynamic. 

NC_Buckeye's picture

Not sure if you're responding to me, Gametime?

Crimson's picture

Gametime responded to DeepSouth; check the indentation.

razrback16's picture

Can you imagine the wrath the mom will bring down if he gets into any trouble at all at MSU or doesn't make it to the NFL? lol.

osu07asu10's picture

This can also be called an "Ace in the hole"

CJDPHoS Board of Directors // Best friends with Homey Hache

The 0 is silent.

ODEEZ330's picture

He'll thug out up there n not make the nfl. Entitled kid who dnt wanna compete for a job. Looks like tarzan plays like Jane. Just my prediction.

stark county football

-1 HS
Norwalk's picture

We have our winner! ODEEZ330
You win the "Most Butt-Hurt Pathetic Post of the Day" award!

TheBadOwl's picture

And don't forget racist!

When I walked in this morning and saw the flag was at half mast I thought, "Alright, another bureaucrat ate it." but then I saw it was Li'l Sebastian. Half mast is too high. Show some damn respect.

-2 HS
Brutus' Left Nut's picture

Tarzan was white...that's not racist.  He was saying that he looks like a monster but plays like a woman.  Parents made it pretty obvious that he hangs out with thugs.  
Hopefully this doesn't happen, but I don't think that is racist.  Just because someone suggests someone will get in trouble doesn't mean it is race related.  Suggesting that such a statement is being made because of a person's race reveals your own perceptions of race.
Al Capone = Thug.  Meyer Lansky = Thug.  Don't have to be any specific race to be a thug.

+1 HS
Denny's picture

Good point - not racist. Misogynistic and racist.


osu07asu10's picture

CJDPHoS Board of Directors // Best friends with Homey Hache

The 0 is silent.

Buckeye Scottie's picture

Am I the only one that thinks Aubrey Plaza is smoking hot? Even her 'goth' like Parks and Rec...just something about her that I dig.

jvd253's picture

"even" her goth...or especially her goth?

"A guy from Ohio can make it in life if he works hard enough." - Wayne Woodrow Hayes

Buckeye Scottie's picture

I normally would have said 'especially' but this pic right here changes everything for me!

Barnsey69's picture

I am making my wife buy new glasses.

Thank the Maker that I was born in Ohio, cradle of coaches, US Presidents, confederate-stomping Generals, and home of The Ohio State University Football Buckeyes- 2014 UNDISPUTED National Champions!

MichiganBuckeye222's picture

She's close friends with Anna Kendrick....boy would I like to be in the middle of that sandwich

Representing the Buckeyes in the Mitten State since 1987.


BUCKI06's picture

"As long as we're keeping score, we're gonna try to win this thing." - UFM

BTBuckeye's picture

He didn't look to happy about it at the ceremony. Momma ain't gonna be happy either.


GoBucksToledo's picture

Nobody seemed to be very happy during that ceremony.  It's too bad too, as this should be a very happy day for all involved.
Good luck to Malik, except when they play us.

WC Buckeye's picture

+1 for using "too" twice correctly in one post! LOL

The only thing that's new in the world is the history that we have forgotten.

Knarcisi's picture

I was concerned that if we got him, and he didn't really want to be here ... it wouldn't have worked out.  Good luck to him. 

+1 HS
House804's picture

You got it.  Se'Von Pittman 2.0.

We talkin' bout practice?!  Not the game I love...the game I die for.  Practice?!

BUCKI06's picture

I feel terrible for him with the way his mom reacted - no wonder he looked so unhappy knowing that his own mom wouldn't support his decision.
Good luck to him at Sparty - gotta make your own decisions, especially when it's one of the biggest of your life.

"As long as we're keeping score, we're gonna try to win this thing." - UFM

WC Buckeye's picture

Yep. Ultimately mom and dad don't put in the work (or not), go to class and get the grades (or not), or succeed or fail. It's all up to him, now, and we should hope he goes and makes the best of it. We'll succeed without him, but he wouldn't be where he is without them, whether he's successful or not.

The only thing that's new in the world is the history that we have forgotten.

acBuckeye's picture

Momma not happy........ Some Type of Way.

AngelHeartsBuckeyes's picture

This had high drama written all over it. Would have liked to have had the kid, but I feel like it would have been a headache down the road in some way. 
Not everyone grows up a Buckeye fan, but some do fall in love with the campus, the staff, the atmosphere, etc and want to be a Buckeye. I love 5 star athletes, but I love 5 star hearts more. I wish him well and I think he made the right decision.

Buckeye born and bred. Buckeye til I'm dead.

Run_Fido_Run's picture

Yeah, if the kid was adamant about going Sparty, no sense in him going to Ohio State under pressure (although it would have been fine, IMO, if his parents had been able to talk him into it).
I can't say that I know if he made the right decision, though. Hypothetically, just for example, if the kid were running with a bad crowd that follows him to EL, that could be a bad scene for him.

AngelHeartsBuckeyes's picture

I guess I meant the right decision for us. Heres to hoping he takes his parents opinion of the situation and uses It as a motivation to prove them incorrect.
I have no doubt it was a bad scene for him, but Columbus has the same elements. Unless or until he decides he wants to make better decisions it doesnt matter where he goes. Changing your scenery does not change your situation.

Buckeye born and bred. Buckeye til I'm dead.

Run_Fido_Run's picture

Good points - and I should have said, above, excellent comments all around.
Yes, if a kid is looking for self-destructive pastimes, he can find them. I sure found them when I went to school on the west coast.
I do think, though, that kids from tough neighborhoods sometimes collect "friends"/acquaintances during their childhood that become heavy baggage, which they cannot really unload without getting far enough away.
Yeah, they'll probably collect some new baggage in the next town and, if they're really determined to do so, that new baggage might even be as heavy or heavier than it was before, but at least they're choosing that baggage. And maybe it's easier to see how debilitating that baggage really was after you drop it for a moment?
Moreover, the coaches keep these kids very busy. Maybe there's not enough free time left over to restock all that heavy baggage, but just enough free time if you carried your heavy baggage with you to campus?

BullCityBuckeye's picture

This sucks for the young man.  I know his parents want what is best for him, but all they can do is give him their advice/counsel, hope for the best, and support him regardless.  Although he didn't pick the Buckeyes, I do wish him the best with his decision (especially if he wasn't going to be "happy" in Columbus).

tennbuckeye19's picture

They talked to his dad before he announced, and his dad said he loved his son and he was proud of him, and though he preferred him to leave the state, if he chooses Michigan State, he would support the decision. 
His mom though is a different story.

Run_Fido_Run's picture

We might be making some assumptions here that maybe aren't true (or maybe they are). We don't know the back story, so what if his parents are mainly worried about some bad influences following the kid from Southfield to EL? In that scenario, a heavy-handed intervention by the parents might actually be warranted. Or maybe the parents were motivated by less noble reasons - Who knows?
From what little we know, though, comparisons to Landon Collins' mom, etc., are premature. Collins' mom is an LSU fan who wanted her boy to stay closer to home. MM's parents were encouraging their son to do something that was actually going to make the parents less popular in their neighborhood and that was less convenient for them.

teddyballgame's picture

If his heart wasn't in it then it's probably best he didn't choose the bucks.  I just thought it was pretty sad how he and his parents couldn't find a place everyone liked. 

Nashville Buckeye's picture

Would have been great to get him, but I wish him the best.

WOLFofOHIO's picture

well sparty..guess you lucked out..but what do you have to say to mcdowells parents???


there is no greater joy than watching Michigan get slammed. in anything

+1 HS
JAX-FL-BUCKEYE's picture

 Even though he chose Michigan State over us Man I really do feel bad for the kid. I remember my signing day and although my college choices weren't on the level of his being that I was a punter I remember MY excitement /fellow teammates and their parents. Its something I will never forget the rest of my life. My parents were the proudest id ever seen them and for this kid to have to feel that disappointment of knowing hes letting down his parents really sucks. I hope for his happiness/sake he can prove his parents that he made the right decision in the long run. GO BUCKS!!!

Northbrook's picture

Naughty, naughty boy

Diplomat's picture

via Detroit Free Press:
“We don’t want him at MSU,” Malik’s mother, Joya Crowe, said Monday night, and she gave multiple reasons.
“Something happened, I don’t want to put it out there what it was,” she said of her son’s recent official visit, “but I had a bad experience at MSU.”
Asked to elaborate, she said: “It was something on my end, I don’t want to get into specifics.”
Crowe said she and Malik’s father, Greg McDowell, also fear “too much social life” at MSU.
“I want him to get a good education,” Crowe said. “Not that he can’t get a good education at MSU. But he also wants to be a first-round pick after college. Nothing is guaranteed, but I don’t think their defensive line coach has the background for that.”

charles's picture

"too much social life" it. 
maybe he should have committed to Bob Jones University!

OSUStu's picture

I hope the guy has a great career...except on days when he plays against tOSU.

If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.  ~ Bruce Lee

bcarp87's picture

I don't know if 11W had some inside info, but from the article they quoted the other day it didn't really read like they wanted him to leave the state. They just wanted him to consider all his options before committing... that's how I read it.

tennbuckeye19's picture

No inside info, just a quote from his dad saying he'd prefer him to leave the state. He said it again today before his announcement.

Hovenaut's picture

Good luck to MM, and his family.

Back to focusing on Buckeye pledges.

SouthernBuck's picture

Wish it were the other way but best of luck to him.

ScarletNGrey01's picture

Good that a quality player stayed in the B1G and good that he made the choice he wanted.  Would have been sweet if he had defied predictions and signed with the bucks, but we have a heck of a recruiting class, no need to get TOO greedy I guess.

The will to win is not as important as the will to prepare to win. -- Woody Hayes

theobi's picture

I'm almost happy he chose MSU. That's what he wanted, I don't think he ever wanted to come here. His mom wouldn't even show up to the signing. I feel bad for him

SOF_Buckeye's picture

Not positive, but I believe she was there, beside his dad. She wasn't happy though, and didn't go up for the pictures.

"The harder you work, the harder it is to surrender." Woody Hayes

theobi's picture

I read on Reddit that the woman was his aunt

Art Harrell's picture

Good Luck---c-ya on game day-Go Bucks

LeftCoastBuck's picture

Definitely a tough situation for his parents. Like it or not, the NFL is a long way away for any player entering college, and all it takes is 1 serious injury to derail a career and send a young man into a tailspin. At the end of the day, a first rate education is the best thing that this young man can take with him into life.
If you are intellectually honest and you look at the guys that largely squandered their chances after clawing their way into the league, you find old friends that are terrible influences at the core. My exhibit 1 would be Michael Vick, a once in a decade talent that could not shake the bad influences from home. Then you've got guys like Pac-Man, etc
The demands on D athletes are never ending, and the influence of "going nowhere" friends while a kid is hopefully trying to adapt to the new reality of being a college athlete can be debilitating. I sincerely hope that MM can tell his old buddies "no" and embrace the chance that Dantonio, who is a damn fine man and MSU have given him.
I suspect Mom and Dad are right though, but wish MM the best.

"Have a Coke and a smile!.....along with $150 in UM football tickets"

TheBadOwl's picture

Two perspectives here.

  • Parents want their son to go somewhere where he'll focus on his education and have a better chance at the NFL. Something about MSU scared them away.
  • Kid wants to go to MSU. Kid gets pressure from his parents. Kid makes his own decision anyways and picks his dream school.

Great pickup for Sparty, good for McDowell making his own decision, but man, I can see why the parents wouldn't be too happy about his choice, and I totally see where they're coming from.

When I walked in this morning and saw the flag was at half mast I thought, "Alright, another bureaucrat ate it." but then I saw it was Li'l Sebastian. Half mast is too high. Show some damn respect.

1967Buck's picture

I agree with what you said, BadOwl.

OSU_ALUM_05's picture

I'm trying to get all the snarky comments I can think of out in one shot to prevent others from being tempted to go there later in the day ... this is the best I could do off the top of my head:
We didn't want him anyway ... he wasn't very good....I'm glad he didn't come here.....I always thought it was a reach ......he has bust written all over him ... no way he should have been a 5 star.....banking the schollly is the right thing to do here ...... I'm sure Urban told him we wouldn't accept his commitment which is why he chose Sparty......we have too much depth for him anyway ... he wasn't willing to compete with our big time playmakers on the line ...... Johnson is too good of a coach for him, expects too much from his players ..... OSU's academic standards are too high for him. .... I bet he'll flake out in a couple years .... I'm sure he's on drugs anyway, we can't have a drug addict in the program ..... rumor has it he's connected to the mob ..... he was used as a young child to distract security to pull off the 9/11 attacks and he received money in offshore accounts for his service which is why he doesn't need an education ...... etc.
Good luck kid .... hope you play great most of the time but suck against the Buckeyes.

Yeti's have feelings too.

Run_Fido_Run's picture

The one sour grapes comment that I'll unapologetically make is that I hope he wins big at life but is mediocre on the football field. Sue me.

I_Run_The_Dave's picture

So basically he should have committed to Cal...

buckeyerose's picture

I'm ok with him picking Dantonio and MSU just glad it wasn't the michelin man er meetchiken guy up there North of here.  
He picked his choice, just not sure it was the right choice.  Since the comment was made about too much social life I wonder if there's a serious gf going to MSU?   Maybe the parents aren't crazy about this relationship and thought some distance was a solution.  Just guessing really.    

First ever undisputed National Champions! OH! 

causeicouldntgo43's picture

At least he 's not going to UM or Wisky or PSU. Dino deserves a few recruiting wins too.....

Barnsey69's picture

Hopefully we get Slade, if not, who cares?! This class is stacked, and the so is the existing roster, regardless of what the robots on E$ecPN think.
McDowell probably has some existing social influences in Southfield to which his parents would probably prefer a buffer.

Thank the Maker that I was born in Ohio, cradle of coaches, US Presidents, confederate-stomping Generals, and home of The Ohio State University Football Buckeyes- 2014 UNDISPUTED National Champions!

Barnsey69's picture

AND, do we really want a guy who wants to be somewhere else? He deserves to be happy about his decision, it's his life. Now, let's see how many pancakes J Jones gets when they match up...

Thank the Maker that I was born in Ohio, cradle of coaches, US Presidents, confederate-stomping Generals, and home of The Ohio State University Football Buckeyes- 2014 UNDISPUTED National Champions!

FROMTHE18's picture

has the LOI been signed and sent? 

OSU_ALUM_05's picture

wow - good catch

Yeti's have feelings too.

TresselourgodUrbanoursavior's picture

I wonder if Urbs or Jimbo would still text him with the knowledge that he hasn't sent in his LOI

Scarlet_Lutefisk's picture

I just feel bad for the kid at this point.

PittBuckeye's picture

I'm torn, gut reaction is I want to feel bad for him. But there's part of me that thinks that maybe his parents have very legit reasons, and MSU really isn't the best place for him. It sucks from the standpoint that it should be a happy day, but if his parents are just very concerned for his future, and are worried he may regret his choices then I understand it to a degree.

+1 HS
Scarlet_Lutefisk's picture

See I tend to believe that his parents do have legitimate concerns.
I still feel bad for him.

sivaDavis's picture

If you told me I had to pick one of two, it worked out perfectly. No knock to MM, but look at our defensive line haul the past couple years. 

"I've had smarter people around me all my life, but I haven't run into one yet that can outwork me. And if they can't outwork you, then smarts aren't going to do them much good." - Woody Hayes

sharks's picture

He still hasn't sent in his LOI, drama abounds...

A man got to have a code...

toad1204's picture

His Mom has custody so she has to sign the LOI...  This could take a while.

Nothing like dancing on the field in 02... 

mattanderson1985's picture

Now it is reported he got kicked out of his house?
If true that is crazy

81Alum's picture
Wow, just wow! Not only did mom kick MM out of her house, but Mark Dantonio too. Wonder what Coach D did. Story in the link above.
"Last night, Malik and his mother had a falling out over his decision to attend Michigan State. When Malik informed his parents that he would attend MIchigan State against their wishes, his mother threw him out of the house. Malikt welcome at his announcement today.
I’m told this situation started during Malik’s official visit to Michigan State. While at Michigan State, according to Malik’s mother, Mark Dantonio approached Malik in an “inappropriate manner” while his mother was not present. This apparently angered his parents and ruined their portion of the official in East Lansing. The “in-home” visit was suppose to address the situation in East Lansing but only inflamed the feud and cause Malik’s mother to throw Dantonio out of the house."

cinserious's picture

What ever happened to Thomas Holly BTW? I thought he was all PSU but now he's signed to play for Muschump? We need to keep these top players in the B1G.

One day I will valiantly become a political prisoner of 11W jail.

TresselourgodUrbanoursavior's picture

Flipped when Larry Johnson chose the good guys.

Buck Commander's picture

When Ohio St. Beats Mich. St. Ass he will be told by mom see I told you so!

Every time I set my DVR to record Biggest Loser......It always records Wolverine Football Games!

KingsRite's picture

What a Dumpster Fire this situation is. Holy Cow!

“I have yet to be in a game where luck was involved. Well-prepared players make plays. I have yet to be in a game where the most prepared team didn't win.” -Urban Meyer-

741's picture


Dantonio: "Malik, what mama don't know won't hurt her... I trust you'll make the right decision."

TossTrap's picture

Rivals had this to say about the McDowell situation:
"McDowell announced his intentions to attend Michigan State early on Signing Day, but failed to send his letter of intent to the Spartan coaching staff because his mother was not on board with the decision.
Family discussions continued throughout the day, but McDowell's signed letter had not arrived in East Lansing as of late Wednesday afternoon."

First and goal at the five and Arch is getting the ball.

BuckToAsT's picture

Wow.  I mean, I really wanted MM to pick the good guys--but that decision was for HIM to make.  It's sad that this has divided MM's family.  This should have been a celebration for all of MM's hard work and achievements.  Hate to see this turn out this way.  Young man clearly deserves to go to college and play ball at the school of HIS choosing. 
Best of luck to him.

William's picture

I can't stand helicopter parents. This is McDowell's decision to make, not his parents'. Even if the parents have a reason to so vehemently oppose him attending MSU, sometimes a kid has to make mistakes to learn from them. You can't watch over your kid forever, eventually you have to let them go.