BBrown: Malik McDowell In: The Shortest Text Conversation Ever

Submitted by Brandon Brown on December 5th, 2013 at 8:10 PM

I exchanged a few text messages with 2014 DL Malik McDowell after he released his Top 7 that included Michigan. The conversation was less than intriguing but this was the first time McDowell has responded to me in quite a long time. I will post the text conversation exactly how it went down to depict the feel of our interaction. Just pretend you are looking at an iPhone screen.


Hey Malik is there any order to your top 7??


Are you planning on announcing at your All-American game?


Oh ok...when are you going to make your decision you think?


A lot of people think you are a Michigan lean what do you think about that?


That marked the end of our conversation. As I have mentioned before this is very different from how he used to respond to me and answer my inquiries. He's always been tough to get a bead on but now I really have no idea who he likes or where he might commit.

I will stand by my theory. If a recruit responds to me openly, often, and punctually it has almost always led to good things. (Drake Harris, Chase Winovich, Wilton Speight, Moe Ways, Jabrill Peppers, Tyree Kinnel, Lawrence Marshall, Mason Cole) On the flip side, when communication really slows or never really takes off in the first place, that has usually led to a different destination other than Michigan. (Da'Shawn Hand, Damon Webb, Sam Mustipher, Jimmie Swain, Jamarco Jones, etc.) Those are just a few examples.


Decatur Jack

December 6th, 2013 at 9:22 AM ^

I don't know why people are downvoting this thread. Thank you Coach Brown for sharing.

Yes, it doesn't look good, but McDowell is a damn enigma. I'd rather have some clue that he's not coming to M rather than just flat out assuming he was only to face all of the disappointment.

Brown Bear

December 5th, 2013 at 8:27 PM ^

This is just my opinion and I'm not trying to slam you because I appreciate your write ups. I think posting an actual text conversation when he is being short like that isn't going to do any good and to post verbatim what he said does seem kind of invasive. That's just my opinion, maybe I'm off base. I don't frequent a ton of recruiting sites but I've never seen an actual text conversation posted verbatim, at least not one short and not a full interview. Maybe I need to follow more recruiting. Not trying to pick a fight or be a jackass. Just my opinion. Appreciate your work, Brandon.

Brandon Brown

December 5th, 2013 at 8:32 PM ^

I can respect an actual thought and opinion. I see what you mean and while it's probably done this way a lot, it's not always announced as being verbatim or whatever. I guess my approach is that I don't try to twist words, inject emotion, omit negatives, or insert positives. I just shoot it straight.


December 5th, 2013 at 9:13 PM ^

Yeah, I agree.  I sorta want to hear your impressions from your "conversations" rahter than quote him because I sorta feel like I'm reading a private conversation which feels a little weird. 


On a side note I can't help but feel a little frustrated that the two big recruits (Hand & McDowell) in positions of need that we have been waiting on for quite some time, both of whom were thought to be UM leans, now seem like they are both lost.  I'm not sure we can really be a good defense until we can get an elite pass rusher.  I think Mone and Pipkins will be good in the middle in the future.  I still have high hopes for Charlton.  But, we still need some talent at SDE.

Brown Bear

December 5th, 2013 at 9:37 PM ^

I think Taco is going to be really good and Mone is a real sleeper(I say that as he is a top 50-100ish kid that people often overlook as a great recruit committed.) McDowell would be a great pickup but not devastating, unless he goes to Sparty or osu. Don't want to lose him to a rival. I'm not reading too much into the brevity, the kid is tired of the process and has stated when he is going to announce his decision but is still probably being hounded night and day for comment. He's a close to the vest kid and with his decision coming at the All American game I don't see him giving any clues until then.

Edit: I thought he had stated he was going to announce at the AA game, guess not but yea I stand by my other thoughts. Kid just wants some space, he doesn't like clingy ness.


December 6th, 2013 at 12:18 AM ^

Brandon Brown is mgoblog's recruiting ninja and he will be leading recruiting coverage well into the future. There is no question about it. Bradon has done a great job rebuilding recruiting coverage and reshaping the culture to the level it was under recruiting ninjas TomVH and Aquaman. Anyone making efforts to stir up a recruiting coverage controversy at mgoblog is ill-informed and is likely promotiong a personal agenda that is not in the best interest of mgoblog.

Is recruiting coverage where we want it to be? No. Many don't remember that when Brian started mgoblog in 2004, his recruiting coverage kind of sucked. Brandon shoots straight from Jersey to the Aleutians, from Hudson Bay to the Bermuda Triangle. I know that Brandon Brown will finish his career at mgoblog as one of the most successful writers in mgoblog's storied history.

Keep it real homie and Go Blog!


December 5th, 2013 at 8:18 PM ^

Certainly doesn't bode well when you don't like your chances with your top two in-state players (one of whom is already committed to your biggest rival). 

If he's not in blue, hope he goes south of the Mason-Dixon. 

I guess upon further review it's not too bad. 

Take out two QBs we're not really interested in and Bullough who we have no shot with with, that gives us Drake Harris, MoWays, and Marshall. 3/7 ain't too bad thoguh it always sucks losing blue-chippers to your rivals. It's not like Michigan is the most talent rich of states. 


December 5th, 2013 at 8:21 PM ^

probably best to leave him alone. But it's not meaningful if there's no context - if he replies this way to all texts from recruiting analysts, it's not indicative of anything.


December 5th, 2013 at 8:50 PM ^

I like your posts and appreciate the insight j to recruiting that you provide.

That said, I think that there might be a flaw in your theory as to how a recruit's responsiveness to you indicates their ultimate decision. Is it possible that when you first contacted him, the recruiting thing was still new and exciting to him, so he was happy to communicate - hell, it would boost my ego to have had adults lapping up my every word when I was 16-18. Now, as his recruitment has gone one, the novelty has worn off and perhaps he is sick of answering questions from so many others in your position. Perhaps he even finds the constant attention from older "reporters" to be somewhat creepy. I don't say this is a remotely negative way, but it is possible.


December 5th, 2013 at 9:06 PM ^

but few rules are absolute. McDowell is different from most recruits, at least in terms of how quiet he is about recruiting. May stand to reason he's different in other ways. Your rule may be valid, but probably at 80/20 rather than 100%


December 5th, 2013 at 8:24 PM ^

It seems that a number of recruits know of and/or read this blog. 

I'd think that posting text conversations or talking about their habits and responsiveness might not be the best thing to do with regularity.


December 5th, 2013 at 8:35 PM ^

I'm not even speaking about the quality of the news, and it makes total sense for you to report both good things and bad things. However, that's not what I'm saying. 

I'm saying, if recruits know the level of detail that you're willing to report on the blog, there's a chance they will be less likely to communicate with you - no matter what the news is. 

I appreciate your hard work, and don't want you to think I'm being a prick. It just seems different from other people's methods of reporting.


December 6th, 2013 at 9:33 AM ^

The real question is, did (I) the reader, get any more value from seeing the exact conversation?  And, could there be any harm in posting the conversation verbatim? 

Personally, I get what you were trying to do by posting it for effect, but it didn't really add any value for me. If you just would have summarized it with an update.  I know the title of your post obviously played into this, but I think a general update summarizing the convo would have worked better.

Secondly, I do feel BostonWolverine makes a good point. It does seem like it could lead to an erosion of trust if you post the exact conversation, which ironically could lead to shorter conversations in the future, which is of course what you're trying to avoid.

Thanks for the update though - seems as if he's trending away from Michigan but you just never know. We're really due for an Army All-American recruit to pick up an M hat.

Brown Bear

December 5th, 2013 at 8:30 PM ^

This too would be part of my thoughts above. If a recruit feels like he is being over analyzed openly by his texts being posted on a blog I don't see them wanting to have more open conversations. If anything I think it could make Brandon's job more difficult. Just trying to help Brandon, not trying to being a dick.


December 5th, 2013 at 9:56 PM ^

It erodes trust if they know their responses are not just going to be analyzed and relayed, but exactly copied for public release. I don't see how they could want to open up much when they know speaking to a particular guy becomes more of a press release scenario.


December 5th, 2013 at 8:39 PM ^

I'm a whole lot less worried about a recruit reading BBrown's analysis of their interaction than I am a recruit reading the thousands of comments throwing our players, coaches, and administration under the bus, talking about pulling all support of the program, and the regular demands that we "fire e'rybody".

But that's just me, guy who thought we all learned something about public perception and showing a unified front of support for the program after the RR debacle..........


December 5th, 2013 at 10:04 PM ^

Eh, fans will be fans.  That's why we're all here.  It's unrealistic to expect fans to point out the positives despite a result that is less than desired.  People have to be who they are.  Some are positive, some are pessimistic, some do research to analyze stuff, and some look to the future during times of our team's frustration.  But, you can't expect someone to be someone they aren't.


I personally reserve the right to call for Borges head when I deem his coaching sucks, despite my complete lack of coaching knowledge.  I won't disrespect players, but I will call it like I see it as a fan.  We want to see our favorite team be successful because we all feel some slight piece of identity with the product we see on the field and when they are not successful we get frustrated and this is a forum to voice that frustration.  That's all it is.  


One thing I can say as a former college athlete, watching is much harder and more stressful than playing.  As a fan all we do is watch and hope.  As a player, if you've done your best, it's not that hard to brush off a loss and move on.  It's much harder to do that as a fan.  If any of our words actually has any real impact on a recruit that is at the very least weird.  I know as an athlete no fans words that don't see inside the walls of day to day operations ever affected my actions.