Breaking Down the Buzz: Michigan State

Michigan State fans are patiently awaiting Malik McDowell's letter of intent
Michigan State fans are patiently awaiting Malik McDowell's letter of intent. (USATSI)

Each Monday, Wednesday and Friday, the Eye on College Football examines what current hot topic the fans of one BCS team are obsessing over -- rationally or not. Today's team: the Michigan State Spartans.

What they're talking about is ... Malik McDowell: He is one of the more interesting recruiting stories from the 2014 class. A five-star defensive end out of Detroit, McDowell committed to Michigan State on Signing Day. The problem was that his parents weren't exactly happy with his decision

"I want him out of Michigan," said Malik's father, Greg McDowell, a couple of days before Signing Day. "I don't care if that's Ohio State or Florida State."

So while McDowell committed to Michigan State, he still hasn't sent in his letter of intent because his mother has yet to sign it. All of which has left the Michigan State fan base in a sort of limbo, waiting on every single Malik McDowell update it can get.

What they're saying is ... it's only a matter of time now: While it has been a long couple of weeks, the clouds are starting to move out and the sun is shining on Spartans fans. McDowell still hasn't sent in his LOI, but he recently said he won't be taking any more unofficial visits, that he has "no interest" in other schools, and that his mom is "coming around." 

Which has led to some mild celebrating, and as often tends to be the case, calling members of the media shameless homers for your rival school. Here's a sample of what some Michigan State fans have been saying via SpartanTailgate.

  • "He's made it this far without fading... I think we're good."
  • "I'm glad to see Malik sticking to his guns in a very difficult situation. Seriously can't wait to cheer like mad first time he takes the field - kid has earned a hero's welcome." 
  • "His dad has been pretty decent about the process - he's said several times that he'd support Malik no matter where he goes. Problem seems to be that Malik's mom needs to be the one who signs the LOI since she has custody. His dad's quote was something to the affect of 'he's going to have a look around as a compromise with his mom...not that you should have to compromise on a decision like this, but Malik doesn't want to hurt his relationship with his mom over this.'"
And then there's this about a certain member of the local media.
  • "Another 'McDowell says he's solid with MSU' story not done by [MICHIGAN HOMER "JOURNALIST"]. What a coincidence."
  • "That had to be tough for [JOHNNY WOLVERINE] to write seeing as he's the primary recruiter representing Michigan for McDowell. You think Webb gets paid by [Michigan] in any way? Even just in seats and perks?"
  • "I really have no problem with that and while I often call [EVIL MICHIGAN MOLE] out for being a huge Michigan homer, he has stayed out of MSU's business and just has been a Detroit-based Michigan slappy."
  • "He's a Michigan Booster [edit. note: he's a booster now!!] and he's contacting recruits and their families several times a day in this instance. How is that not an NCAA recruiting violation?"
  • "That's using the term "booster" loosely. That [hey now that's not nice to say] local hack couldn't possibly have the juice to donate to the university."
Seriously, the only thing missing from all those posts was a "PAWWWLLLLL" at the end of each one. 

What we're saying is ... things could have been much worse: While nothing is official yet, it sure seems like McDowell is going to end up at Michigan State, and that's a good thing. Michigan State is where he wanted to be, and even if his parents hoped otherwise -- and their reasons for wanting Malik to go elsewhere were both genuine and logical -- this is Malik's decision. So it's nice to see he should get what he wants.

It's also nice as far as the fact that the decision will keep McDowell from becoming persona non grata on Michigan State message boards. It's insane how quickly a fan base can go from lauding a teenager as the greatest thing in the history of the world to a horrible person who they hope gets hurt and never amounts to anything. By and large, though, from what I've read, I have to say I think Michigan State fans have handled the whole thing pretty well. They seem to understand that this decision has nothing to do with Spartans football, but it's a personal issue within a family. They've respected that. And since McDowell will likely end up in East Lansing, they'll keep respecting it.

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CBS Sports Writer

Tom Fornelli has been a college football writer at CBS Sports since 2010. During his time at CBS, Tom has proven time and again that he hates your favorite team and thinks your rival is a paragon of football... Full Bio

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