There is a flash of a battle-ready wide receiver (Max), the ability to break down plays (Michigan-bound QB Dylan) and the grace to leave would be tacklers in the dust (2015 Heisman runner-up Christian).
Colorado has seen enough to offer a scholarship to the Valor Christian (Highlands Ranch) sophomore.
“It was coach [Darrin] Chiaverini that I talked to directly. He just said he’d love to have me there, just congratulating me on my offer, talking about the school,” McCaffrey said of landing a recent CU offer, his first.
“Any time an in-state school is interest in me that’s an incredible thing. Especially now with their program on the rise, they’re starting to get a lot of good players. The fact that CU is looking at me, I’m very honored.”
Unlike past recruitments of McCaffreys, Colorado’s football program stands on solid ground. The Buffs are ranked and primed for a big game against UCLA on Thursday.
“I’ve grown up on CU. It’s right down the road. It’s incredible how I’ve seen them through the years. They’ve had a rough few years and the fans are still there,” McCaffrey continued.
The Buffaloes are not specifying a position for the 2019 athlete at the next level. McCaffrey is the true definition of athlete: He returns kicks, takes slants to the house, busts big runs on reverses and then turns around and comes up with key stops as a defensive back.
Quarterback could the ultimate spot for McCaffrey, with a Valor position battle brewing for the 2017 season. Luke hopes to take the reins from brother Dylan, but 2018 signal-caller Blake Stenstrom, who holds a CU offer, is waiting in the wings.
“That’s what I still have my heart set on,” McCaffrey said of quarterback.
The final McCaffrey from the Ed bunch has options for lacrosse as well. Luke plans to pick one sport to focus on in college and he took a recent unofficial to Notre Dame where he met with the Irish’s football and lacrosse coaching staffs. Watching his brothers go through recruiting has been an asset early in McCaffrey’s process.
“It was awesome there. We knew coach Samford because he recruited Christian out at Stanford,” McCaffrey said of Notre Dame.
“I’ve learned to be patient and trust yourself on what you like. Nobody else can really make a decision for you, it’s all about you. Don’t focus on recruiting while you’re playing, just have fun,” he continued on the process.
McCaffrey said it would be an honor to receive interest from the likes of Michigan and Stanford. Valor’s young standout plans to showcase his skills for colleges during the spring evaluation period. Whether McCaffrey follows cleat marks of family members or blazes his own college path is yet to be determined.
“I’ve thought about it. I’ve been there quite a bit just watching them. That’d be incredible if those schools were interested. I also respect my brothers if they want to do their own thing,” he said.
McCaffrey’s parents are veterans of the recruiting game. They tend to let their children find the right fit, not pushing for a particular program.
“They don’t really stress you as long as you do think you’ll fit in there,” McCaffrey said.
Ed and Lisa have spent countless hours in the bleachers cheering on the Valor Eagles, then the respective colleges. Are they tired of recruiting?
“Probably. They’re probably tired of football in general, but they do their best hiding it,” McCaffrey said with a laugh.
The 6-foot-2, 180-pound Valor product is working on all aspects of his game and soaking up all the playing time he can find this season. Valor limped out of the gate with three losses in its first four games, with McCaffrey and the Eagles finding their stride heading into the playoffs.
“Really just everything. I’m trying to get comfortable playing as much as I can. This year I’m taking it as a ‘get on the field, do anything you can’ type of stance. Hopefully next year I can compete for the quarterback job,” McCaffrey said on things he’s looking to improve.
“We started a little slow, but our first five games were against five legit teams. We’ve done a good job since then just playing our game. We’re getting ready for the playoffs.”
McCaffrey contributed two touchdowns in Valor’s 49-14 victory over Poudre on Oct. 28 in Fort Collins, with an 89-yard touchdown run – featuring moves eerily reminiscent of brother Christian -- called back on a holding penalty. Valor concludes its regular season on Friday night against Fountain-Fort Carson.