Nearly two months after national signing day Malik McDowell is officially a member of Michigan State's 2014 recruiting class. The arrival of his paperwork ends a long and winding saga.
McDowell announced on Twitter that he submitted his letter of intent late Tuesday night, which was the final signing date for the period:
Mike Griffith of MLive.com confirms the paperwork was received by Michigan State and McDowell finally became a member of the class:
McDowell was a highly coveted recruit. The 5-star prospect ranked inside the top 40 nationally and was one of the top five strong-side defensive ends available, according to 247Sports' composite rankings. The outlet lists 20 programs as have shown interest.
Furthermore, he was the top-ranked prospect in the state of Michigan. So Michigan State seemingly landed a major piece of its class on national signing day. Instead, his letter of intent never showed up and questions were raised about his status.
It turned out his mother originally prevented him from making his commitment official. James Jahnke of the Detroit Free Press reports Joya Crowe thought her son should have chosen a different school and wouldn't sign the letter:
McDowell verbally committed to MSU on Signing Day in early February, but his mother, Joya Crowe, refused to sign his letter of intent, preferring that he attend one of his other finalists: Ohio State or Florida State. McDowell also strongly considered Michigan, especially early in his recruiting process.
The report notes it's unclear what changed that led to McDowell officially joining the Spartans.
Regardless, it's a huge boost for Michigan State after an extended period where it wasn't clear where the talented defensive lineman would land following the chaos.
McDowell is still a bit raw, but his combination of size and athleticism makes him an extremely intriguing prospect with plenty of upside. He should be ready to play a rotational role right away before moving into a more prominent role once he gains experience.
Landing with Michigan State is also good for him because of its strong defensive system. The Spartans ranked third in the nation in points against per game last season. It should allow him to showcase his potential sooner rather than later.
There were probably some tense moments over the past few months for the Michigan State staff. Now they can rest easy. McDowell is on his way.