Michael Clay, a 6-foot, 220-pound linebacker from Bellarmine Prep in San Jose, Calif., recently told his father that he plans to decide where he will play college football on Jan. 13, his mother's birthday.
Clay visited Colorado during the fall and hosted CU linebackers coach Brian Cabral for an in-home visit last month. Coach Dan Hawkins is scheduled to stop by Tuesday (Jan. 6) for another in-home visit, Clay's father, Rodney Clay, said.
"He's a low-key kind of guy," Rodney Clay said of his son. "I really think Colorado and Oregon, in his mind, are neck-and-neck. I think it's going to be a really tough decision for him and that's why I think this visit this weekend is really important."
Both programs are recruiting Clay to play the outside linebacker spot, the position manned in Boulder the past three years by Brad Jones. Clay did it all this year for his high school team, rushing the passer, dropping into pass coverage and stuffing the run.
Clay has said he favors Oregon slightly over Colorado. He has only been to Eugene once, that came two years ago for a prep combine. Rodney Clay said his son plans to pursue a business degree in college and the family was impressed with the academic side of things at Colorado. Athletic facilities are one of the big draws for Oregon.
Rodney Clay said his son is close with longtime CU linebackers coach Brian Cabral and Oregon defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti. He said the fact that both coaches have long histories with their respective institutions makes his son comfortable that whichever program he chooses, he will be coached by the men recruiting him.
"Facility wise, we all know what Oregon has, but visiting Colorado and being with the academic people there really made us feel more comfortable there," Rodney Clay said. "I think there is an assumption about where he is going to go, but I think he really likes Colorado and the decision is going to be a lot harder for him that people think."