Updated: Sep 9, 2019
For the third straight Friday, the Heel Tough Blog remained in the Charlotte area to scout another Tar Heel commit. This week’s subject was one of the underrated players in the Tar Heels 2020 class, 3✮ OG Malik McGowan. He and his Charlotte Catholic teammates faced a tough challenge in Louisiana-based Archbishop Rummel. Let’s breakdown how McGowan’s performance in one of the toughest games of his senior season.
Many people may be shocked at the fact that at 6’3, 330 lbs. McGowan starts at blindside tackles, but as we quickly learned there is a reason why he starts there. McGowan’s athleticism, especially for someone of his size, allows him to succeed, as he did on Friday night. McGowan began his career in an offensive system that ran the football nearly 90% of the snaps they took, but as his career has proceeded, the Charlotte Catholic offense has adjusted, becoming more balanced of the past two seasons. Up until Friday night, the Heel Tough Blog had yet to see McGowan in the new, balanced offense, and the results were extremely positive. The concerns that some had about McGowan’s pass protection should be eliminated, especially after he dominated a talented Archbishop Rummel defensive line. His ability to mirror the defender and anchor himself once the defensive lineman engages allows him to keep the pocket clean. His footwork might not be the greatest, but the good news is, after high school, McGowan will likely never take another snap at tackle.
At guard, he will be able to really shine in run blocking scenarios, an area that McGowan has been dominant in during his career. Friday night was another great run-blocking performance for McGowan, as he was able to overpower the small Archbishop Rummel defensive ends. Although it won’t show on the stat sheet, McGowan dominated his assignments all night, including some important blocks on third downs that allowed the Cougars to pick up some big first downs. The only area that McGowan may need to improve is his quickness off the snap, but McGowan has all of the tools necessary to be a force on the Tar Heel offensive line when he arrives on campus.
While McGowan had a great showing on Friday night, he wasn’t the only player who made an impression. Teammate Carson Shea was tasked with shutting down LSU wide receiver commit Koy Moore and had a dominant night, doing just that, while hard-hitting safety Gavin Zinkil and playmaking linebacker Liam Barbee provided added support in a very good game for the Charlotte Catholic defense. As for Archbishop Rummel, none of the four FBS-bound player really had huge nights, but running back Logan Diggs muscled out a nice performance on the ground. The player of the game for Archbishop Rummel, though, was definitely linebacker Aaron Thomas, who’s 83-yard interception return for a touchdown was the difference in an Archbishop Rummel 7-3 victory.
The Heel Tough Blog will not be on the road next week with the Tar Heels facing Wake Forest on Friday night, but we will be back at it the next Friday night, September 20th, when we’ll head to Lee County High School in Sanford, NC to see the Tar Heels biggest remaining target in the 2020 class, 5✮ WDE Desmond Evans, and current 2020 Tar Heel commit Jayden Chalmers.