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What's Next For Malik McDowell?

National letter-of-intent day is supposed to be an exciting day for high school football prospects across the country, locking in their college futures with their respective schools.

McDowell went against his parents wishes on Wednesday and committed to Michigan State.

Adding to the thrill of the day over the last several years has been the signing day announcements of blue-chippers making their intentions known during nationally televised press conferences at their school.

Typically a joyous event, for Southfield (Mich.) High five-star defensive end Malik McDowell, the experience has become depressing.

On Wednesday, the 6-foot-7, 290-pound McDowell went against his parents’ wishes and gave a verbal commitment to Michigan State over his other finalists, Florida State, Michigan and Ohio State. As Spartans nation went crazy, a letter-of-intent was never faxed over to East Lansing.

McDowell’s folks didn’t sign.

As of Thursday afternoon, nothing has changed regarding the status of the letter-of-intent, however the sense is McDowell will still end up ultimately at Michigan State.

There are a few different ways the nation’s No. 2 strong-side defensive end according to the 247Sports Composite Ratings could enroll at Michigan State without a signature from either parents.

A college letter-of-intent says a parent or guardian has to sign for a prospect until he’s 21-years old, however an NCAA representative tells 247sports McDowell could sign an athletic aid-agreement at any time after he is 18-years old, and that some schools have institution policies where a young man could be under 18-years old and still be allowed to sign that agreement.

According to the 247Sports database, McDowell turns 18 on June 20.

It’s easy to assume that McDowell and Michigan State would love to have this settled by June 20, but either way, in the long run, there is nothing stopping the U.S. Army All-American from ultimately being a Spartan if that’s where he wants to go.

The Big Ten could issue Michigan State a waiver, and McDowell could basically sign with the Spartans without a signature from one of his parents. Sources tell 247Sports a Southfield counselor will help McDowell fill out an admission packet on Friday.

Announcing for Michigan State on Wednesday could not have been easy for McDowell. Going against the two people he loves the most proves how much he wants to be a Spartan.

There is definitely an end of the tunnel for McDowell and Michigan State if his parents won’t sign his letter-of-intent before he turns 18, however that also gives McDowell time to perhaps change his mind after talking with his folks. That’s something that’s not anticipated at this time, but definitely not out of the realm of possibility.

With McDowell in the fold, Michigan State will finish with the nation’s No. 25 ranked recruiting class.

Say he were to reconsider and go to Florida State, a school that would still take the blue-chipper, the Seminoles class would come close to catching Ohio State but would remain No. 4 in the 247Sports national recruiting rankings.

If McDowell were to be a Buckeye, Ohio State would jump LSU and finish behind Alabama with the No. 2 class. They still have a spot for McDowell if he'd want to come.

McDowell took official visits to all three programs as well as Alabama and Florida. He is ranked as the nation’s No. 32 prospect overall and the No. 1 player in the state of Michigan.

McDowell is the only Top247 prospect yet to sign with a college program. Click here to see where the rest of the nation's top players are headed.

Check out the current 247Sports class rankings here.

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