Just when we think we've seen and heard it all on the recruiting trail, another year goes by and another crazy scenario presents itself. Last year it was Alex Collins' mom snatching his national letter of intent and running away with it, and this year it is the saga of Malik McDowell.
McDowell declared his intentions to attend Michigan State University last Wednesday, yet as the hours went by, there was no word from Michigan State about McDowell being a member of the Spartans.
Those hours turned in to a day, and then a weekend, and here we are a full week after national signing day and McDowell is still a "free agent," if you will. He is verbally a Spartan, but his mother has yet to sign any papers to any school.
Recruiting can be a dangerous game of chicken, and the fact that McDowell's family has him heading on visits was not the outcome MSU was hoping for after this past weekend.
Its ideal scenario was to come into the office on Monday morning and hear the fax machine buzzing with Malik McDowell's signed national letter of intent being printed out.
After a weekend of discussion, Steve Wiltfong of 247Sports is reporting that McDowell will be taking a second look at all three of his other finalists, according to Malik's father, Greg McDowell (subscription required).
He wants to go check out Florida State again and Ohio State again. Michigan could be the first or second or the last. They’re 30 minutes away. We have no issue getting up there and checking it out. I told him it’s going to be a compromise with him and his mom. I know you shouldn’t have to compromise with your mom about this decision, but you can’t want something that bad to risk a relationship.
While the pull of parental guidance can be strong, it is clear that McDowell has his sights set on Michigan State. Clearly the word compromise comes to mind, but exactly who or what will be compromised is the key question.
McDowell's dilemma is not a fun one: either attend a school that isn't his dream and risk always wondering "what if" just to make his parents happy, or risk losing part of his support system to make himself happy.
The player is convinced that East Lansing is the place to be, but the parents clearly were not sold on it for their son's future, according to the 247Sports article.
If he has the opportunity to be somewhere he can become great, not that he can't do it at Michigan state, but in my opinion the other schools, with the type of defensive line he'd be playing with, I don't know. I'm not fully with him. I'm not fully against him. I'm all the way for my son. That's where I'm stuck at.
It appears as if this question may not be so much of a compromise as it is a convincing job—and that should worry Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio and his staff quite a bit.
Let's face facts, the more times Urban Meyer and Jimbo Fisher are front of a recruit, the more likely they are to land said recruit.
Where Will Malik McDowell Play in 2014?
Dantonio and his staff are caught between a rock and a hard place, nearly as much as the 17-year-old trying to make the decision himself.
For Michigan State, the question is what now? Do they try and repair a relationship that may be irreparably damaged or do they stay out of what appears to be a family squabble?
There likely isn't much in the way of convincing they can do, as the parents appear to have their minds made up on which school is best suited to get their son to the NFL.
A wait-and-see approach isn't ideal in the world of recruiting, but this entire saga is different than most recruiting processes.
MSU would be wise to stay in contact but not push the envelop as they try and seal the deal once again.
With no quick resolution on the horizon, Michigan State has to be worried that its most highly-touted player in the 2014 class may be headed elsewhere.
*Andy Coppens is Bleacher Report's lead writer for the Big Ten. You can follow him on Twitter: @ andycoppens.