Malik McDowell

Five-star Malik McDowell likely to visit Buckeyes, ‘Noles


It appears there won’t be a resolution to the Malik McDowell “situation at any point in the near future.

The five-star defensive end committed to Michigan State on National Signing Day but has not sent his National Letter of Intent to the university.  As McDowell is under the age of 21, his custodial parent — in this case his mother, Joya Crowe — must sign off on the NLI; neither of McDowell’s parents want their son to play for the Spartans — the father has backed off that stance somewhat — which is preventing the defensive lineman from officially joining the MSU program.

In a conversation with, McDowell’s dad confirmed that unofficial visits to schools such as Florida State and Ohio State would likely be in the offing before a final decision is made.  It’s believed the father would prefer to see his son play for the Buckeyes, while his mother, at least for the time being, seems to be of the mindset that any program other than the Spartans would be fine with her.

“I know he is open to taking some unofficials to Florida State and Ohio State,” Greg McDowell told the recruiting website. “We plan on doing some unofficials and see if he and his mom can resolve this. It’s possible she’ll be open to Michigan State as well, so we’ll have to see. …

“We plan on getting down to Florida State as soon as possible, and with Ohio State being a three-hour ride, we’ll drive over and sit down.”

The father also made sure to note that Michigan, the last of the four finalists, is still in the picture as well, with the site writing that “conversations are ongoing with all three finalists he did not pick on National Signing Day.”

Greg McDowell couldn’t make a prediction on when the situation would be resolved

“We have until April 1 to decide, so hopefully within the coming weeks we will have something,” the player’s dad said.

There is one option for Malik McDowell if neither parent is willing to sign off on the NLI.  From the Detroit Free Press:

If it turns out McDowell can’t get his mother to sign the letter of intent, or either parent to sign the Big Ten tender, he can still enroll at MSU. After one day of classes, a prospect is no longer considered a prospect, Smith said – he or she is considered a student-athlete.

So McDowell could sign the Big Ten tender after one day of classes and he would not need the signature of either parent.

But that would mean McDowell would have to pay out of his own pocket if he wanted to enroll in summer classes before his freshman season. Many incoming MSU freshmen take summer classes and take part in offseason workouts with the team.

Was Washington loss the beginning of the end of the Steve Sarkisian era at USC?

Steve Sarkisian

Steve Sarkisian’s win totals in his six previous seasons are both a positive and a negative.

On one hand, he resurrected a moribund Washington program that went 0-12 under Ty Willingham in 2008 and took them to four consecutive bowl games from 2010-2013. He won nine games his last year in Seattle, then led a talented-yet-thin USC team to a nine-win season and AP No. 20 finish in 2014.

Those are good accomplishments. But the flip side of the argument is Sarkisian has never won double-digit games in a season, something that’s a necessity to keep one’s job at USC. The Trojans’ 17-12 loss to Washington last night — at home, no less — means the road to 10 wins and a Pac-12 title will be awfully difficult.

And worse yet, there are plenty of arguments to be made Sarkisian doesn’t deserve the benefit of the doubt and a little more time in Los Angeles to turn things around (#SarkAfterDark, his drunken rant at a booster event, certainly doesn’t help). The reaction from national media to last night’s loss looked like this:

Mandel, in his column, argued USC is right where it was two years ago with Lane Kiffin as its coach. And there’s this embarrassing thought, that looks more and more like a truth, for Pat Haden:

This one, however, was the most damning by far for many reasons, most notably that it came at the hands of Sarkisian’s old team. The sense among many Washington fans nearly two years ago was that the Huskies managed to upgrade coaches when the school lured Chris Petersen from Boise State upon Sarkisian’s departure to USC.

They were right.

USA Today’s Dan Wolken similarly wrote that USC needs to drop Sarkisian and bring in Chip Kelly from the Philadelphia Eagles.

This is the state of USC, and it may not get better. The Trojans start a brutal three-game stretch next Saturday at Notre Dame in primetime, then welcome Utah to Los Angeles the next week. A Halloween trip to Berkeley to face Jared Goff and Cal finishes it up. There’s a very real chance USC, for all its talent and all its hype, limps into November with a 4-4 or 3-5 record.

Sarkisian will have to engineer and sustain a major turnaround in these coming weeks, otherwise he’ll give Haden all the ammo he needs to unceremoniously jettison him after two years.

Starting Navy S Kwazel Bertrand undergoes surgery, likely out for season

Kwazel Bertrand, Jacobi Owens
Associated Press
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Navy has seen one of its most productive players on the defensive side of the ball play for perhaps the final time this season.

Kwazel Bertrand sustained a broken ankle in the win over Air Force last Saturday, head coach Ken Niumatalolo confirmed earlier this week. As a result, the defensive back will very likely miss the remainder of the 2015 season.

And, because he is a senior and has no other eligibility avenues to pursue, it would effectively end his collegiate career as well.

“I feel terrible for Kwazel. It’s really unfortunate any time a senior goes down with a season-ending injury,” Niumatalolo said. “Kwazel has been a really good player for us and we’re going to miss his presence out on the field.”

Bertrand started 27 games over the past three-plus seasons, including all four in 2015.