I have to retract a little bit reading through some article. Coaches and team mates spoke well of him heading into the 2016 season according to this article.
Teammates, coaches say hype for Michigan State's Malik McDowell is justified
Another article after the season:
Malik McDowell reflects on a difficult season at Michigan State as he prepares for the NFL
McDowell is now in South Florida, where he's training in preparation for the NFL combine, which starts in late February.
Along with training for that, McDowell said he's also focused on getting healthy, which he wasn't at any point this season. This season featured a slew of injuries, McDowell said, from his ribs and chest to his shoulder. The ailments went far beyond the typical wear and tear of a season, he said, and were made worse by the constant pressure he faced.
"It felt like I was taking on more double teams, triple teams," McDowell said. "It was a hard year for me this year, a hard year for the team overall."
Despite all that, McDowell claims he didn't get frustrated with his year.
"You can't really get frustrated," McDowell said. "I couldn't really be mad. It was up to us to win and to lose. There isn't anybody to really be mad at. You can't say I was really frustrated, I was more like 'We need to get it together.'"
Those injuries and added attention helped keep him to 34 tackles, seven tackles for loss and a sack in nine games in 2016. That, in turn, led most media mock drafts to slot him somewhere in the middle of the first round.
And to notion that there was discord between him and others in the Michigan State football building throughout the season, McDowell says that's not true.
"You can ask my teammates or coaches, I didn't have any problems with anybody," McDowell said.
McDowell's season ended a three-year run in which one of the most celebrated recruits of the Mark Dantonio era largely lived up to his billing, at least in physical capabilities. He played as a true freshman, then started as a sophomore alongside three future NFL defensive linemen in establishing himself as a future first-rounder.