Under Armour All-American linebacker Jeffrey McCulloch is in Orlando this week and shared some key insight into what will influence his eventual decision in an interview with Rivals.com
The Aldine Davis product will take his official visit to Texas on January 15 and noted that there will be around 20 other recruits there, a prospect that he said is "exciting" for him.
The key for McCulloch as he takes that visit and an unofficial visit to Texas A&M at the end of the month on his birthday is determining the level of coaching stability at those two programs and assessing the respective quarterback situations.
When TCU co-offensive coordinator Sonny Cumbie visited Austin to decide whether he wanted to take the offensive coordinator job at Texas, he reportedly didn't get the assurances he needed about head coach Charlie Strong's job security, so it would behoove the Longhorns to have one or both of athletic director Mike Perrin and president Greg Fenves around to answer those questions when McCulloch is in town.
It's not hard to give the right answers in those situations, but having already failed at least once, taking the ability to do so for granted doesn't seem like a wise move.
The truth is probably that neither coach has a great deal of job security, as Aggie fans are not especially happy about the recent exodus from College Station and shouldn't be pleased with a declining offense that he's overseen in the last several years.
As for the quarterback situation, Texas has the advantage in having a returner starter in sophomore Jerrod Heard and five other available scholarships quarterbacks starting this spring. Meanwhile, Texas A&M is scrambling to find a 2016 quarterback to complement former Oklahoma State walk-on Jake Hubenak, who is the only player currently set to be on scholarship in 2016 at the position.
As one might imagine, the 6'3, 230-pounder has been keeping abreast of all the recent developments in those areas.
"Yes, I have," he said. "I mean, of course I would, they're gonna be my coaches possibly."
So what's his take on the situations at the in-state schools?
"I see they're all fighting for stability, but it's not going the way they planned," said McCulloch when asked about the Texas offensive coordinator search and the two recent quarterback transfers from Texas A&M.
"Of course, they're making strides to ensure that quarterbacks will be available, so they will be there sooner or later," he said of Texas A&M. "And then, on the coaches, I've heard of contract extensions for both, but I'm not sure how true that is yet."
Meanwhile, Stanford and Notre Dame have both made compelling presentations to McCulloch on academics. The Fighting Irish would appear to be the stronger contender there due to the combination of academics and recent football success, so that could be the out-of-state school most likely to land his services in early February.
In fact, the most recent 247Sports Crystal Ball prediction, made back in the middle of December, is in favor of Notre Dame.
However, it's hard to rule out a school like Alabama, which McCulloch will visit the week after his trip to Austin. Alabama is Alabama and head coach Nick Saban is Nick Saban. And there's seemingly plenty of stability there. Seemingly. The thing is, if the Crimson Tide win a national championship in January, McCulloch isn't convinced that the legendary head coach will stick around for another season, so that's his major question in relation to Alabama at this point.
McCulloch is a consensus four-star prospect ranked as the No. 83 player nationally, the No. 7 outside linebacker, and the No. 14 player in the state of Texas, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings. A decision will come down from him on National Signing Day.