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McDowell back from UF trip

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Southfield, Mich., defensive end Malik McDowell followed up an official visit to Alabama earlier this month with one to Florida this weekend. It was his first trip to Gainesville during the recruiting process.
"It was fun. I liked everything about it," McDowell said. "I would say it kept (the interest level) right about the same. I got to see the campus and the campus impressed me a lot."
McDowell made the official visit to Alabama solo, but he was accompanied by his mother on the trip to Florida.
"She liked it, liked the weather a lot and liked the academic part," McDowell said. "She had fun too, I think."
The 6-foot-6, 290-pound McDowell is one of only a small handful of prospects who were invited to both of the Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge presented by Under Armour the last two summers. His host at Florida was a player he was with at the inaugural Five-Star Challenge in Atlanta two summers ago.
"They paired me with (Caleb Brantley), freshman defensive tackle," McDowell said. "I had known Caleb from the camp before. They were all just real good dudes."
McDowell spent most of his weekend around the Gator's coaching staff, including head coach Will Muschamp.
"Him and Coach (Brad) Lawing I spent a lot of time with. I talk to them a lot, so we're pretty close. They are good people," McDowell said. "They were just talking about how the season they had this year would probably never happen again."
The No. 33 ranked player in the country, McDowell is one of the highest-rated targets on Florida's board. Contributing to the Gators' turn-around was a popular topic of conversation this weekend.
"We talked about it a lot," McDowell said. "They like me at the tackle and at the end. I like 4-3 - that is one of my favorite defenses, but I don't mind playing a 3-4."
McDowell will finish out his recruitment with official visits to LSU, Florida State and Ohio State in January. He hosted coaches from LSU, Alabama and Florida State in-home this past week.
Josh Helmholdt is the Midwest Region football recruiting analyst for Rivals.com. You can click here to follow him on Twitter.
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