Malik McDowell has narrowed his list if possible schools to four: Michigan State, Michigan, Ohio State and Florida State. (Daniel Mears / Detroit News)
Tom Luginbill, the national recruiting adviser and color commentator for ESPN, said Monday that Michigan State could well be the winner in the sweepstakes for Southfield linemen Malik McDowell.
“I think Michigan State has a bead on him,” Luginbill said. “That’s my feeling.”
McDowell, a 6-foot-6, 290-pound lineman, will announce where is going to school on National Signing Day on Wednesday morning. He is reportedly down to four schools: Michigan State, Michigan, Florida State and Ohio State.
Luginbill had more good news for Spartans fans, as he praised coach Mark Dantonio and his approach to recruiting.
“Dantonio (is) one of those people that can weed out all of the stuff and decipher who that player is they need,” Luginbill said.
Meanwhile, despite Michigan’s down year on the field in 2013, Luginbill said the perception of the program across the country hasn’t diminished.
“To this point, I haven’t seen a lot of negativity,” he said. “The kids aren’t going away. If I’d seen one every two or three weeks de-commit, then I’d take notice. They did lose (defensive end) Da’Shawn Hand to Alabama. But players like (defensive back) Jabrill Peppers, (defensive end) Lawrence Marshall, (defensive tackle) Bryan Mone and (receiver) Drake Harris, they’ve had commitments from for a long time and all have been steadfast.
“Their numbers are down, but that’s a reflection of who they have coming back. There’s a renewed excitement with the new offensive coordinator (Doug Nussmeier) from Alabama. Eventually, they’ll accomplish what they need.”
As for the Big Ten as a whole, Luginbill said there is a gap between Ohio State and everyone else.
“They have superior skill players on offense,” he said. “U-M is trying to build to that, as well. The difference is not glaring. There aren’t enough players in the Midwest to feed these teams. They need to go elsewhere to get players.”
Luginbill also gave props to Western Michigan and coach P.J. Fleck on the job they’ve done in recruiting this season. Western’s class is regarded as the best in the Mid-American Conference, and one of the best out of the MAC in quite some time.
“He’s doing his homework,” Luginbill said of Fleck. “They’re getting guys early and they’re not approaching it like, we’re Western Michigan and we don’t have a chance.”