For Malik McDowell, dominance has become the routine when he locks horns with offensive linemen. At multiple camps over the past few months the physically precocious youngster has manhandled players one and two years older. That was again the case at the Sound Mind Sound Body Academy last week. He was again exhibiting his overpowering ways when one of his foes resorted to a stiff head butt to stem the tide.
“Yeah, that’s just how it went down,” said a bloody-lipped McDowell. “I didn’t think that was going to come, but I shot my move and he didn’t move his hands, so I was going past him. I was sliding off and his head just hit me.”
“I did real good, I believe,” he later added regarding his performance. “Didn’t lose any (match-ups), so I was really good out there. I was on a roll.“
Watching McDowell closely during day was a number of college coaches, including those from Michigan. Afterward the Maize & Blue brass was among those that reiterated their interest.
“Michigan just told me I was doing a good job, to keep it up, and they all wanted me to come down there and see the academic system,” he said. “Brady Hoke was talking to me, saying, ‘Man, I could beat you in basketball’, which I don’t believe, so that was pretty much it.”
It seems likely that Hoke would be able to throw his weight around in the post. McDowell, however, doesn’t seem too worried.
“I could shoot over him,” said a smiling McDowell. That’s pretty much it!”
Other college coaches managed to make memorable impressions also, especially from those from the Wolverines’ in-state rival.
“Michigan State… the defensive coach was over there... he showed me a few moves to use,” stated McDowell. I’ll make sure I’ll use them, because one I used right away and I got right past.”
While he still publicly claims no favorites, the top prospect in the Great Lake State’s 2014 class conceded that the in-state programs hold a special place with him.
“I love the (in-state) schools because my parents don’t have to move anywhere,” he said. “They’ll be able to come see all my games and everything.”
The Detroit Loyola star doesn’t plan to attend either school’s summer camp, but said that they both treated him to excellent visits earlier in the spring.
“(The Spartans) practice hard,” said McDowell. “I saw them practice over there with the defensive linemen. I got to talk to the head coach. It was real nice out there.”
“(Michigan) was real cool. Me and him had a good time. Ate lunch before we left and everything. He said that was the first time he’d ever been to the Big House.”
Earlier in his recruitment McDowell revealed a lifelong affinity for the Maize & Blue. As his recruitment has picked up steam, though, he has kept any such leanings much closer to the vest. As a matter of fact he has begun professing strong childhood feelings for other programs as well.
“My dad got me hats and stuff, so I was a Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State fan because I played (video) games a lot,” he said.
Is it possible to be a fan of both Michigan and Ohio State?
“I do not know,” he said laughingly. “People ask me that – I’m not a big fan of any school to tell you the truth. It’s like any school is my favorite school.”
That’s a tell-tale sign of a youngster wanting to make sure he keeps all of his options open. And with two-plus years left before he sets foot on a college campus, he is in no rush to reach a decision.
“We’re going to talk about the plan (for making a decision in the future) because right now we stay off the topic, really. “
To view the full video interview with McDowell, press play below.