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FOOTBALL: McDowell cleared to play for Southfield this fall

   | Scott Burnstein

FOOTBALL: McDowell cleared to play for Southfield this fall

SOUTHFIELD – The table is now officially set.

In a few short weeks, it will be time to come to that table and devour a hardy meal of opposing quarterbacks for recent Southfield High School-addition Malik McDowell, the state’s No. 1 recruit on defensive side of the football for the Class of 2014.

An imposing and freakishly-athletic and agile 6-foot-7, 305-pound menace in the trenches on the defensive line, McDowell, who transferred to Southfield from Detroit Loyola last month, was cleared by the MHSAA this week and will be uniform for the Bluejays on August 30 when they kick-off the upcoming season. That game will be a dandy, as Southfield squares off with nationally-ranked and two-time defending Division 1 state-champion Detroit Cass Tech at Wayne State’s Adams Field.

In three years at Loyola, McDowell was a two-year all-state pick and led the Bulldogs to a spot in the Division 7 state finals last season, collecting 66 tackles and posting 16 sacks.

At Southfield he teams with Lawrence Marshall, another heavily-recruited defensive end and University of Michigan-commit, to give the Bluejays an excruciatingly good pass-rush attack, especially when you take in account that the squad’s starting defensive tackles, Chris Williams and Lion King Conway, are college-recruits, too.

McDowell is considering scholarship offers from over two dozen elite college pigskin programs spanning the entire country.

Four Southfield football players have already accepted Division I scholarships: Marshall and then three key pieces on offense in quarterback Jalen Brady (Bowling Green), wide receiver Jordan Billingslea (Western Michigan) and offensive lineman Chukes Okorafor (Western Michigan).

There are seven Bluejays players overall that currently hold Division I offers (11 if you count DI-AA and GLIAC).

Southfield is set to contend for a league title in the Oakland Activities Association White and a possible shot at a Division 2 state championship, where they could easily end up playing spoiler to Birmingham Brother Rice’s run to a third consecutive crown in legendary head coach Al Fracassa’s “goodbye season.”

Bluejays’ head coach Tim Conley was jacked to get the nod on McDowell’s eligibility.

“It was exciting news,” he said. “I think it will be beneficial all the way around for him to come to Southfield for his last year, both on the field and in the classroom. There’s no question he’s a beast going after the quarterback and we’ll give him a lot of opportunities in the way we scheme to do just that with us this year.”