Michigan St DL McDowell enters draft, skips senior season

FILE - In this Sept. 2, 2016, file photo, Michigan State's Malik McDowell, right, tackles Furman's Richard Hayes III for a 6-yard loss during the first quarter of an NCAA college football game, in East Lansing, Mich. McDowell is entering the NFL draft, skipping his senior season. The standout defensive lineman made the announcement Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2016. He is projected to be a first-round pick. (AP Photo/Al Goldis, File)
Al Goldis/AP

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) Michigan State defensive lineman Malik McDowell is skipping his senior season to enter the NFL draft, where he is a potential first-round pick.

The 6-foot-6, 276-pound McDowell led the Spartans with seven tackles for losses, despite sitting out of three games with an apparent leg injury, and was named to The Associated Press All-Big Ten team. As a sophomore last year, he helped Michigan State win the Big Ten title and advance to the College Football Playoff. McDowell had 24 + tackles for losses, including 7 + sacks, in 23 starts and 36 games.

Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio says McDowell is an extremely gifted player with the mindset to succeed at the next level.

McDowell made his announcement Tuesday.

More AP college football: www.collegefootball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25