#1 Seattle quiet talking running back wrapped up his final ma von mary123 28.09.2019 04:26

EAST LANSING, Michigan -- Malik McDowell is long and dressed in green and has an uncanny ability to bend his 6-foot-6, 275-pound body through spaces it has no business fitting through. It makes sense then that the Michigan State coaching staff refers to their junior superstar on the defensive line as Gumby when watching him work.McDowell was born in 1996, a year after Gumby: The Movie hit theaters and decades after Americas original favorite Claymation character and his trusty sidekick, Pokey, ended their run on television. Naturally, he has no idea what assistant coach Ron Burton is talking about when he hollers Gumby! in the film room.Im not sure. Its that elephant? he asks.No, McDowell is told, thats Dumbo.Oh, then no, I dont know who Gumby is.But really, can you blame McDowell for thinking a coach might compare him to an elephant? He towers over interior linemen. His wingspan is long enough to call to mind a trunk or perhaps a pair of floppy ears large enough to propel him into flight. Teammates say the most impressive thing theyve seen him do on a field might just be squeezing his upper body into a pair of shoulder pads.His size is overwhelming, but his flexibility is what makes McDowell a freak. The ability to contort and twist all that mass through keyhole-sized gaps in between double teams or piles of linemen makes him a candidate to be one of the most dominant and imposing players in college football this season.Reaching his incredibly high ceiling is not a foregone conclusion. To get there, McDowell will have to show tha,t despite a hardheaded attitude calcified by a high-profile recruitment and a lifetime of doing things his own way, he is capable of being as pliable mentally as he is physically.When its pointed out to you that youre of that vein, that ability, then you have to play to that ability, head coach Mark Dantonio said. Thats a challenge that everybody hopes to have in their football career. You hope to get to that point where you need to play like a first-team All-American. He can, and he should.McDowell is no stranger to the responsibility that comes as a side effect of notoriety. Its fair to say the pressure of lofty expectations have hung around his tree trunk of a neck longer and heavier than the necks of any other Michigan State player during Dantonios tenure. The Spartans have successfully recruited three five-star prospects during the past decade, but none has come with the same fanfare as the former blue-chipper from Detroit.I feel like because of how my recruitment went I already had a lot of pressure, he said.McDowell waited nearly two months to send his signed letter of intent to East Lansing while he and his mother settled a public disagreement about where he should go to school. Unprompted, he remembers exactly how long the ordeal lasted.I had to make them wait 56 days, he said. So people already know about you, now you dont want to be the guy that they did a bunch of work to get and you didnt work out. ... You dont want to be that five-star that was just a five-star in high school and didnt pan out.When the full-grown 18-year-old made it to campus he assumed he would be unstoppable, a dog. After all, no one had ever stopped him before. He looked at undersized starting center Jack Allen and started licking his chops. He assumed the redshirt junior would be a teddy bear. Then Allen planted him firmly on his back on McDowells first snap in pads as a college football player.Allen said the first practice with pads each August is a day veterans relish. Its a day to bring confident freshmen back down to Earth, and McDowell was no different in that respect. The 6-1 center continued to have his way with his highly touted sparring partner throughout their first fall battling each other.In November, McDowell says he could count on one hand the number of times he had gotten the better of Allen in one-on-one drills in practice. In games, he considered his freshman season terrible. He couldnt bully opponents like he always had on the football field, and he couldnt figure out how to make all that raw talent work for him against a college offensive line.I was starting to think, Damn, Im going to be that guy, he said.Teammates and friends consider McDowell to be determined, strong-minded, at times downright stubborn. When a coaching point or a tip from a fellow player didnt produce immediate results during his freshman season, McDowell assumed he knew better and fell back on what had worked for him in the past.A lot of young guys come in thinking they have the answer and the coach is wrong, said Allen, now with the New Orleans Saints. Its cool to me when you see a younger guy asking questions and wanting to get better.McDowell became more inquisitive last fall. He started asking questions and sticking around long enough to digest the answers. He picked Allens mind and paid closer attention in meetings with Burton and rest of the defense. His coaches say its part of a natural process of growing up that McDowell has yet to complete. Remember hes young enough to know nothing about Gumby.The problem for McDowell was going through those growing pains under scrutiny that few, if any, of his teammates shared. Michigan States rise to power has been fueled by underrated talent eager to prove the world wrong. High NFL Draft picks Trae Waynes, Jack Conklin and LeVeon Bell all started as virtually unheard of prospects. McDowell, on the other hand, is motivated by trying to make sure everyone else around him was right.Thats sparsely treaded territory for a Spartan and for the Spartans coaches. Michigan State could have stuck with the tried-and-true method of finding diamonds in the rough. McDowell had plenty of options to join programs that more regularly cater to superstar talent, places that may have at times bent more to his will rather than asking him to do the opposite.Expectations are really high for those guys, Dantonio said. They have to be treated as best we can like everybody else. They have to understand that, and they have to get ready to play like everybody else. Talent will only take you so far. The drive that you have as a person completes that circle.The threat of falling short of expectations is constantly on McDowells mind. Hes learning to turn that pressure into motivation rather than a reason to get down on himself -- just a part of growing up, he says. In the last year, McDowell has moved into his own place, stopped going out and adopted a Bully Pit named Esco from some friends who couldnt care for him. I feel like more of an adult now, he says, which is translating to football as well.His maturity is now hes not always relying on his athleticism, Burton said. His maturity is in his understanding of the game from the Xs and Os perspective. How are they trying to attack you? Backfield sets and slide protections, those are things now at the next level that youre going to need.Those are the tools that can carry McDowell to great heights this season if he fully embraces them. He said he never knew about his elastic, Gumby-esque athleticism before arriving at Michigan State because he didnt need it.I just try to fit into stuff that I probably shouldnt, he said. I see a little gap in a double team that a normal defensive lineman probably wouldnt try to squeeze through, and instead of going around it Ill try to squeeze through it. I dont take the easy way out, and sometimes that requires me bending.Michigan State is a program that prides itself on providing no easy ways out. 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CLEVELAND -- Kent State has indefinitely suspended star senior safety Nate Holley one day before hosting No. 14 Western Michigan.School spokesman Eric Mansfield confirmed the punishment but did not provide any details.We are aware of the situation and take this matter very seriously, Mansfield said in an email sent to the Associated Press. He has been suspended from the team indefinitely.Holley is thee Golden Flashes top defensive player, averaging 12.dddddddddddd3 tackles per game. He leads the nation with 8.9 solo tackles per game.Holleys twin brother, Nick, took over as Kent States starting quarterback earlier this season following injuries to two other quarterbacks. ' ' '

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