Will 5-Star Malik McDowell Remain in Big Ten Country or Head to ACC?

Andrew Coppens@@andycoppensContributor IFebruary 4, 2014

McDowell at the U.S. Army All-American game
McDowell at the U.S. Army All-American game247Sports

Braxton Miller who? Melvin Gordon and Ameer Abdullah, head to the tail of the line. There's a new name on everyone's radar this week, and that is 5-star defensive end Malik McDowell

Yes, a kid who has never played a down in a college football uniform has managed to make a lot of people forget the players already in the Big Ten. That's the power of a 5-star recruit's decision on national signing day and having three Big Ten teams fighting for his attention. 

McDowell will announce at 9:30 a.m. ET on Wednesday and, for the Big Ten, this decision has widespread implications. The Detroit, Mich. native will decided between Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State out of the Big Ten and reigning national champion Florida State out of the ACC. 

With the SEC already taking a ton of the top talent from within Big Ten country, losing one of the few 5-star prospects in the area to a school outside of the conference would be a pretty swift kick in the pants.

The biggest question is: Will that actually happen, or will McDowell chose to stay home in Big Ten country?

If you are to believe the 247Sports Crystal Ball predictions, a lot of momentum is surrounding the Seminoles. Yet, some of the biggest national experts are declaring for the Big Ten, and for Michigan State specifically. 

With national signing day happening in 24 hours or less as of Tuesday, there is one constant we must take into consideration: disinformation. 

If there's one thing that we've experienced over the last few years, it's to expect the unexpected and let the crazy happen. 

For McDowell's recruitment, it's rumors that his parents want him to take his talent to the national champions. 

Rumors that later became backed up by statements from the parents, Greg and Joya Crowe, according to Joe Rexrode of the Detroit Free Press. His mother said, "I want him to get a good education. 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."

She continued, making it 100 percent clear that she doesn't want her son at Michigan State and worries about the social life at the East Lansing school: "We don’t want him at MSU. Something happened, I don’t want to put it out there what it was, but I had a bad experience at MSU. It was something on my end, I don’t want to get into specifics."

It isn't just his mother who doesn't want him to head to Michigan State, either, as his dad made it very clear to 247Sports.com, per Rexrode's article, on where he'd like to see his son go: 

You have to be somewhere you have less distractions and be around people that do what you do, go to class, be football players, be a student-athlete. That’s the environment I want him to be around, and not be in close proximity to his friends. I want him out of Michigan. I don’t care if that’s Ohio State or Florida State.

So, it appears this decision comes down to one simple thing—do what mom and dad want, or do what you think is best for yourself. 

McDowell has a lot of pressure from friends and family in this decision, and anyone who tells you they have the answer to where he ends up signing on Wednesday is simply playing the guessing game. 

The athlete himself has been less outspoken than his parents throughout this process, and that has led to a lot of speculation. 

If he follows his parents’ wishes, McDowell's chances of staying in the Big Ten just went from 75 percent to just 25 percent (amongst the four finalists). 

All of this adds up to one of the most anticipated and intense announcements on national signing day.

What is known is that losing McDowell to the ACC would be a pretty big slap in the face to the Big Ten—even if it were to the defending national champions. 


Andy Coppens is Bleacher Report's lead writer for the Big Ten. You can follow him on Twitter: @andycoppens