You may recall the drama surrounding Southfield (Mich.) High five-star defensive end Malik McDowell's National Signing Day saga last month. Well, seven weeks later -- and only a few days before the deadline to submit National Letters of Intent -- his commitment to Michigan State remains unresolved.
According to multiple reports, McDowell signed a letter on Feb. 5 stating his intention to play for the Spartans under scholarship. His father Greg also appeared to sign the document, but the letter was never sent to East Lansing, because it requires a signature from the custodial parent -- his mother Joya Crowe.
However, Crowe never signed the letter because she did not approve of her 6-foot-6, 292-pound son's decision. "We don't want him at MSU," she told the Detroit Free Press 48 hours before signing day. "Something happened, I don't want to put it out there what it was, but I had a bad experience at MSU."
While not specifically addressing that issue, Crowe has since partially explained her reasoning to multiple media outlets, including Detroit's 105.1 FM. She reportedly cited education and her son's aspiration to be a first-round pick in addition to criticizing Michigan State defensive line coach Ron Burton.
"Everybody wants Malik to make this decision on his own, but Malik probably can't tell you nothing about their academics," Crowe told the radio station. "People don't understand that Malik is not mature enough to make this decision. If I felt he was mature enough, and he came to me and said, 'This is what Michigan State has to offer, education, football, the D-Line coach has this background … this, this and this, lay it out.
"But if y'all call and ask Malik, he's just gonna say comfort, I'm comfortable."
While McDowell hoped to sway his mother toward Michigan State before Monday's deadline to submit National Letters of Intent, that doesn't appear to be the case, according to the Detroit News.
Because McDowell is the nation's No. 2 ranked defensive end recruit, according to Rivals.com, the Spartans will hold a scholarship open for him beyond Monday's deadline, Southfield coach Tim Conley told the Detroit News. Likewise, his mother's top choices -- Michigan, Florida State and Ohio State -- will do the same, hoping he will ultimately sign a tender contract for them before players start reporting in June.
For the record, Michigan is ranked highest academically by U.S. News & World Report at No. 28, followed by Ohio State (52nd), Michigan State (73rd) and Florida State (91st). The Spartans, of course, won the Big Ten title this past fall, placing a defensive lineman, linebacker and cornerback on All-American rosters.