Malik McDowell (#67) is still taking his recruitment at a leisurely pace.
Not All Slow Recruitments Are Bad Recruitments
The list of players once considered long-time Michigan locks only to commit elsewhere is long, distinguished, and oft-cited in just about any discussion about MI DL Malik McDowell. This is understandable: after recruitments of players like Ronald Johnson, Dee Hart, Josh Garnett, Jordan Diamond, and Laquon Treadwell went awry, any recruit that seems to have every reason to pull the trigger yet draws out the process is now met with a healthy amount of skepticism.
In McDowell's case, however, his inertia appears to be a good sign for Michigan. After previously stating that he'd take all five of his official visits to out-of-state schools, that may no longer be the case, per Tim Sullivan ($):
"I want to wait until after the season [to take the visits]," McDowell explained. "I'm still going to try to make it down to Florida over Thanksgiving weekend. I don't know right now just because things are real busy.
"[In addition to Florida, LSU, and Alabama], I don't really have a last two visits planned; I might save the last two for some in-state schools, but I might go out-of-state, I don't really know."
While Michigan State is nominally in the picture, it would be shocking if McDowell chose the Spartans over the Wolverines, so this is quite a good sign for Michigan. Official visits to a trio of top SEC schools can alter any recruitment significantly, of course, but first McDowell has to actually follow through on those visits, which have yet to be set up; even if he makes it to all three schools, it's going to take a lot to unseat the in-state favorite given how many times McDowell has been on Michigan's campus. Given the direction McDowell's recruitment is (slowly) moving, I'd be surprised if he ends up anywhere else.
[Hit THE JUMP for the roundup of best commit performances from last weekend's games.]
Six Down, One To Go
Of the seven 2014 commits who've stated plans to enroll early, six have now made it official:
The last holdout is Bryan Mone, who's relatively quiet on the interview scene, so it's entirely possible that he's already sent in his papers.
Commits In Action: Peppers, Paramus Catholic Fall To Don Bosco
Jabrill Peppers caught five passes for 94 yards and a touchdown, rushed for 65 yards on 13 carries, and excelled on defense despite being plagued by cramps; it wasn't enough to lift Paramus Catholic past Peppers's former school, Don Bosco Prep, in a nationally televised game, as the Paladins fell 20-13. MGoVideo posted highlights of Peppers from the game, which I can't embed so click through.
Damien Harris tallied 264 yards and four touchdowns on just 14 carries, adding a 70-yard interception return to set up another score for good measure in Madison Southern's 56-28 triumph over North Laurel.
Wilton Speight was lifted after the first possession of the third quarter. This was a good thing, as he'd already completed 11 of 14 passes for 197 yards and five touchdowns—with all the TDs coming in the first half—in an eventual 47-7 rout of Fork Union:
“It wasn’t as much about my individual performance as it was the line giving me an ample amount of time,” said Speight, who will enroll at Michigan on a football scholarship in January. “The receivers pretty much caught everything I threw at them.
“This game may have helped my stats and my numbers, but, more importantly, it was a very good team effort. If my team didn’t provide me with so much help, then none of this could have happened today.”
Speight's already mastered coachspeak, too. Kid's ahead of the curve.
George Campbell didn't catch any of East Lake's six completed passes in their 47-3 blowout of Countryside, but that doesn't mean he didn't make an impact—or stay off the scoresheet, as he recovered his own forced fumble in the end zone after a bone-crushing hit:
The Forgotten Man, 2014 greyshirt commit Brady Pallante, notched eight tackles, including a TFL and a sack, in a 35-31 loss for Barron Collier.
Shaun Crawford had a rough weekend despite tallying an 80-yard touchdown run on the first play from scrimmage against St. Ignatius—he lost three fumbles, two of them on punt returns, in a 23-17 upset loss.