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.



December 5th, 2013 at 8:54 PM ^

Hopefully, he's just sick of the process and attention and this isn't a reflection of his feelings about Michigan. All the signs seem to be pointing the wrong way recently though. Too bad considering some of his previous comments from not too long ago made him seem like a lock.


December 5th, 2013 at 9:01 PM ^

Maybe he enjoys a good old fashion phone call? Did you try writing him a letter? Singing telegram?

I don't think he goes Blue, but what do I know, I forgot my ATM pin today.

Mr. Brownstone

December 5th, 2013 at 9:06 PM ^

I went through the recruiting process in the early 1990's. Was it that long ago? I can't even imagine going through that process today. Wow! And people can't understand why these kids make announcements on TV with hats and dressed up in suits.

Brandon Brown

December 5th, 2013 at 9:06 PM ^

Malik actually responded back to me just now and said that he is in fact getting tired of the entire recruiting process. He said it's just constant from reporters and coaches both.

I then asked him if he'd like me to stop contacting him then and he said, "Nah man, your good." I hope you guys can rest easy now.


December 5th, 2013 at 9:14 PM ^

Thanks for the update!

Now here's an annoying but I think useful tidbit from a qualitative researcher - its ok to correct little mistakes that your subjects make in grammar (such as changing "your" to "your're"). Doing so does no violence to the statement, and only does right by your subject.  



December 5th, 2013 at 9:20 PM ^

Here is a friendly suggestion: posting the whole thing ran the risk of people perceiving McDowell as rude - which wasn't your intent, I realize. Just saying "I haven't heard much from him, and you guys know what I think when that happens" would have accomplished the same thing as posting the conversation but not opened McDowell up to criticism. I think you don't want to run the risk of ever making a guy look bad even when it's not your intent. People take thus stuff way too seriously - see all the negativity that went Hand's way after he committed. Better to open guys up to that as little as possible.

Space Coyote

December 6th, 2013 at 9:27 AM ^

I think saying "I haven't heard much from him" gets the point across without setting up for the negative reaction and is likely the better way to go in the future.

I say this with no real feel for how to talk recruiting with other players (that's something I've been very clear that I haven't personally wanted to do as far as blogging), but I think the thing you have to weigh is what kind of light and what the reaction might be for both the recruit and yourself.

In this case, short answers, understand that people are going to try to interpret that and it's unlikely that they'll interpret it in a good way, so you're not giving a lot of upside for the recruit. Just as importantly for you, when he doesn't answer back and is giving short answers, posting the actual transcript gives you very little upside from a group of people that haven't done this sort of thing, so you're generally putting yourself in a negative light as well.

I'm not saying this to be mean, I just think that's something that needs to be a considered a bit more here, as with this conversation, there really is little room that people will lean towards the good side of things with the recruit or with you personally rather than to the negative side of things. And that's why I think the example that someone else posted is likely the better way to go for everyone involved.


December 5th, 2013 at 9:08 PM ^

Keep doing what you are doing. Haters gonna hate. There will always be someone on this site that will critique an OP, that is just the nature of the site. Do what you believe is right and don't worry about others. Some people read things just looking for holes to poke. You can poke a hole in virtually anything posted on this site if you try hard enough. I have never in my life heard of a recruit saying..I didn't pick Michigan, because I didn't like the guys who covered recruiting on their behalf. Until such time as I do, I will not nitpick your posts.

Preemptive Strike: Someone will post a reply to my comment telling me that I am making dangerous assumptions and that even if no one has said they disimissed a school from their list because of the people who cover recruiting, doesn't mean it hasn't happened.


December 5th, 2013 at 9:08 PM ^

You need to remember that the many are interested in the mindset of our recruits. Unfortunately a few would rather nitpick you to death. I am sure Ace, Heiko and TomVH had growing pains when they started out. Keep your head high and keep up the good work.


December 5th, 2013 at 9:14 PM ^

By posting the exchange verbatim you are telling recruits there is absolutely no confidentiality in any communication.  They will be (or should be) 100% cautious about anything they say or text to you. That is no way to build any kind of rapport with a recruit.  Next thing you know, you're going to be reporting on the recruits tone of voice when you talked to them.  You should at least get explicit permission to post a verbatim conversation with them before posting.

I know we all beg and plead for information on here, but no report might be your best move sometimes.  Both for your career and for MGoBlog.  

Brandon Brown

December 5th, 2013 at 9:21 PM ^

This is something that I don't expect you guys to know but I talk with these recruits about all of this stuff. We communicate "off the record" sometimes. Sometimes they tell me not to post something just yet or at all. Sometimes I ask them if I should post something or not. Sometimes I let them know, "Be careful how you answer this, but a lot of people are curious, blah blah blah." This is something I've had a lot of success with. Recruits talk to me and trust me with a lot of information. Do you really think that would be happening if I was unprofessional, untrustworthy, or dishonest?

Like I've said a lot of times before, Brian hired me for a reason after meeting me in person and getting to know me a little bit. I'm not a bad dude. I love football and recruiting and I have a passion for working with kids which is why I'm a teacher and a coach. I'm just trying to relay the facts and as much information as I can find for a fanbase that wants information all of the time.


Bando Calrissian

December 5th, 2013 at 9:23 PM ^

I think my main critique, and this is from seeing BBrown's other posts over the past few months, is that the paid/official staff on MGoBlog do a really good job of trying to be professional about balancing the tone of a fan post as opposed to an official capacity news-oriented post. There's a certain professionalism that came with TomVH's approach, as well as how Ace, Seth, and Brian handle their work for the blog, that BBrown's posts simply don't have. Just look through this thread. 

If you're going to be the recruiting point man, texting recruits and trying to get inside information for the highest profile Michigan blog, you can't write your posts the way BBrown does. He's writing like a fan who has sanction to do what he does from someone higher up, instead of a professional on the same level as Brian and company, who puts his fan enthusiasm aside to do a professional job, presented in a way that comes off as articulate and credible.

I just think back to the kind of presentation TomVH had, and I just don't see it here. Just a bit of constructive criticism for BBrown. This is how you learn, and all the main guys around here went through the same thing now and then.


December 5th, 2013 at 9:35 PM ^

I agree with a lot of what you said.  If I had that that exchange with a recruit, I'd write something like this....


I exchanged some texts with Malik tonight.  As you know, he released a top 7 recently and there's no order to it.  This interesting because [insert some insight to previous recruiting info].  Originally, he was going to make his decision during the AA game, but he's not so sure now.  Malik has always been one of the tougher recruits to read.  He, his parents, and coaches have done a great job of keeping things close to the vest which is their right.  He seems like a high character kid, whichever school he ends up at will end up with a great student athlete.


December 5th, 2013 at 9:39 PM ^

I will respond for BBrown.

I appreciate the advice. Some of it will be considered and some won't. I wasn't being dismissive, I just said thanks. Yes, the recruit read the original article because he asked me to send him the link, which I honestly wish I wouldn't have done after how all of it went and how people posted off-putting comments about him for no reason.

And what?!?! There's not much you can do for me? No offense, but what makes you think any of the staff need or want your help or anyone elses for that matter? I'm really not trying to be a jerk, but seriously, we can't possibly please everyone or take every bit of advice that people feel the need to offer up.

And lastly, I'm not sure how you think it works for me, but I don't have a quota. I don't care how many "clicks" I get. That's not what it's about at all. I started The M Block almost 2 years ago and never earned a cent. I don't care about clicks, I enjoy doing this, or at least I used to.


Two Hearted Ale

December 5th, 2013 at 9:18 PM ^

Maybe he is short with you because you post your private conversations with him on the internet. He said more than I would have.

I'm not judging. I get it. Some people hold their cards close to the vest.


December 5th, 2013 at 9:25 PM ^

I think it's funny that he posted this on his twitter just recently. He seems like he's leaning more towards State (why else would you associate yourself with WIlliam Gholston), but from all accounts, he also seems like a kid who hates the additional attention from the media that comes with being a big time recruit.



December 5th, 2013 at 9:23 PM ^

Perhaps someone can do a poll, but I think its safe to assume that there's not enough demand for verbatim conversations to go to the trouble of publishing them. 


December 5th, 2013 at 9:24 PM ^

If I were asked if there is an order to my Top 7 and my response was "No" I might be upset if it is followed up with being asked what I thought about having one place as my favorite.

I could think the questioner is not listening, or worse, didn't like my answer and is kind of accusing me of not being honest.

Take him for his word.