Don’t hold your breath, SEC fans, but there’s a five-star defensive end out of Michigan who still hasn’t signed a letter of intent as part of the 2014 class. It’s been a month since national signing day and technically, he’s still available.
The problem with Michigan native Malik McDowell isn’t with his grades, and he’s not trying to put on a show by prolonging the drama. The problem is that his mother won’t sign his letter of intent to attend his chosen school–MIchigan State. And McDowell is still a minor, so he must have his parents’ signatures. His father has recently said that he’d honor his son’s choice of playing for the Spartans, but his mother has said before she wanted him to leave the state and play for either Ohio State or Florida State.
McDowell took all five of his official visits, and two of them were to SEC schools–Alabama and Florida. He also reported scholarship offers from LSU, Mississippi State and Tennessee. He committed to Michigan State on national signing day, but nothing is binding until that letter of intent is signed.
McDowell could just let the clock run out to play for his chosen school. See, he’s only a few months away from his 18th birthday, and after that he wouldn’t need any parental signatures. The national signing period for football actually goes from Feb. 5 until April 1st, so he would need a signature before April 1 to make the agreement binding on both ends. After that, McDowell wouldn’t be able to be on a football scholarship until fall semester classes began, but by then he’d be 18. But, that also leaves him open to go to any other school and begin fall semester classes, so that’s the gamble–at least for Michigan State.
Again, it’s far-fetched to think this 6-foot-7, 290-pound defensive end will end up in the SEC, but weirder things have happened. And as Sports Illustrated reported, quoting a source close to the situation, this is an odd situation. “When is the NCAA going to step in and say, ‘What’s going on?’”
Editor’s note: Saturday Down South’s references to ratings follow the 247Sports.com composite rankings for high school prospects.