January 24, 2014 at 1:00 am

Allen Trieu

Michigan State's huge recruiting weekend includes visit by Malik McDowell

Malik McDowell's recruitment might be a two-school race between Michigan State and Michigan. (Photo courtesy of Allen Trieu)

A showdown with rival Michigan at the Breslin Center on Saturday night is one of the key games on the Spartans’ Big Ten slate. But on the football side, it’s also an important opportunity to have recruits on campus experiencing a big event.

The headline visitor this weekend is Southfield High’s five-star defensive tackle Malik McDowell, who switched his official visit from LSU to Michigan State recently. The 6-foot-6, 290-pound McDowell is Scout.com’s No. 1-ranked recruit in the state of Michigan and one of the top uncommitted players in the country. He is still considering a number of schools including Michigan, Ohio State, Notre Dame, Florida State, LSU and Alabama. But popular opinion is that the real battle for him is being waged between the Spartans and Wolverines.

McDowell will have nearly the Spartans’ entire recruiting class there and in his ear this weekend. Brian Allen, Chase Gianacakos, Jalen Watts-Jackson, Byron Bullough, Nick Padla, Vayante Copeland, Robert Bowers, Montae Nicholson, Gerald Owens and Deon Drake will all be visiting and attending the basketball game.

They will have more than just McDowell to recruit as the Spartans are also hosting three other official visitors -- Fort Pierce (Fla.) Central outside linebacker Sharieff Rhaheed, Cincinnati (Ohio) Winton Woods defensive tackle Daniel Cage, and Pasadena City College (Calif.) offensive tackle Miguel Machado. The 6-foot-6, 290-pound Machado is a Washington State commit who will be visiting East Lansing for the first time.

Unofficial visitors on campus will include Detroit King junior linebacker Tyriq Thompson, Oak Park running back John Kelly and Detroit Cass Tech running back Mike Weber, all three of whom hold Spartan offers. Wyandotte Roosevelt sophomore wide receiver Donnie Corley and Orchard Lake St. Mary’s teammates Josh Ross and Daelin Hayes will also be on hand.

Ross, a freshman linebacker, already has an offer from the Spartans. Hayes, a 6-foot-2, 218-pound sophomore, was just offered by Michigan State this week, his first offer of the recruiting process. He projects to either running back or linebacker in college.

Spartans make move on Hayes

Hayes spoke to SpartanDigest.com’s Mike Wilson on Tuesday about his Michigan State offer, saying head coach Mark Dantonio came into the school that day, along with quarterbacks coach and recruiting coordinator Brad Salem.

“I like the way they play as a team,” he said of the Spartans. “It’s not really arrogance or, ‘I’m untouchable, I’m a football player.’ Everybody is humble and a lot of the players’ attitudes come from the coaching staff.”

Hayes has two teammates, senior Jalen Watts-Jackson and junior Tyson Smith, who are both committed to Michigan State and says he expects both to try to recruit him to the Green and White.

Lapeer East standout offered walk-on spot

Lapeer East senior Kyle Rachwal was offered a preferred walk-on spot by Michigan State recently. Rachwal, a 6-foot-3, 230-pound linebacker and tight end, is considering offers from Eastern Michigan, Grand Valley State and others, but said he would also consider the Spartans. Rachwal led the state with 109 tackles as a senior and also accumulated 1,100 yards of total offense. He was a unanimous first-team all-state selection.

More information

Malik McDowell profile

Daelin Hayes profile

Kyle Rachwal profile

Allen Trieu began covering the state of Michigan for Scout.com in 2005 and began managing the entire Midwest in 2009. He has been featured on the Big Ten Network on its annual Signing Day Show. His Michigan State recruiting column appears every Friday at detroitnews.com. For more on MSU recruiting, visit michiganstate.scout.com.