The offer from Notre Dame came over the telephone from head coach Charlie Weis on Wednesday but McCarthy had already intended to visit the campus in South Bend before the scholarship offer officially came. McCarthy spent last weekend on an official visit to the Naval Academy.
"Navy was a very good experience for me," said McCarthy during halftime of the Mooney vs. St. Vincent-St. Mary basketball game on Tuesday night. "It was good to take the visit and see what else is out there. I definitely think the Navy visit was a great experience for me."
McCarthy had previously visited Ohio State to start the month of January and according to all accounts, that visit went extremely well.
"Right now, Ohio State is definitely the leader," he said. "I have an offer from Northwestern and I'm going to take a midweek visit there, and then after that I'm going to take a visit to Notre Dame. I'll probably make my decision sometime next week."
He doesn't have an actual timetable to make his decision as of now.
"I don't know when I'm going to tell everyone about it, but I'll know sometime next week, and the coaches of those teams will know," McCarthy said. "Right now, I'll say it's down to Ohio State, Northwestern, Notre Dame and Navy."
Word was circulating in the Youngstown area that McCarthy would possibly have a decision sometime this week, but then he added the visits to Northwestern and to Notre Dame.
"I just want to make sure that I make the right decision because it's going to be the next four or five years of my life," McCarthy said. "It's not that I didn't like anything about Ohio State, it's just that I think I need to see what else is out there so I can make the 100 percent right decision.
"So after those visits and I see what's out there, I'll commit to wherever I fit best. Maybe it's going to be Ohio State, maybe not, but right now they're my leader."
It's well known by now that McCarthy grew up an Irish fan and his older brother goes to Notre Dame, but he has said previously that that won't necessarily play a role in his decision.
Actually Notre Dame has been in contact with McCarthy throughout the entire time but obviously with new staff on board now, it took some time for them to sort out their own situation.
"They've actually been in contact with me for longest time out of all of the teams," McCarthy said.
It's fair to say that McCarthy would actually be remiss on passing up an opportunity to officially visit a school like Notre Dame and have regrets about it later if he never did.
"Again, I just need to see what's out there and see where I want to be," he said. "Right now, I'm not 100 percent positive, so I just want to see what's out there I guess."
McCarthy admitted that it's certainly possible that he could be swept off his feet when he goes to Notre Dame.
"Yeah it's possible, I wouldn't say it's not. But it's going to be pretty tough to beat Ohio State," he said. "I doubt that I'm going to make any commitments this weekend. In fact, I'll say the chances are more than likely that I'm not."
He and his family has too much respect for all of the parties involved not to make a well thought-out decision.
"After these visits, I'm going to come home and sit down with my family and discuss what's the best thing that I like about each school and pick wherever I feel the most comfortable at," McCarthy said.
In addition to his connections to Notre Dame, McCarthy has somewhat of a background with Ohio State as well, namely with Jim Tressel himself who coached at Youngstown State and lived there for so many years. McCarthy's father, Jack, actually sold Tressel his home when he first came to Youngstown to be the head coach of the Penguins, and the family has had relationships with several members of Tressel's staffs at both YSU and Ohio State.
"The thing that excites me the most about Ohio State is, without a doubt, the people involved," McCarthy said. "The coaching staff are great guys, down to earth, and I really admire those guys and respect them all. And the players, I fit in well with the players.
"One of the biggest factors in my decision will be the people in the program, and Ohio State has great people in that program and I really admire them."
McCarthy has yet to meet Weis in person but he did have an in-home visit by members of the Notre Dame staff already.
"I'm sure he's a great guy and a great football coach. As you can see, he's coached in the SuperBowl," he said. "So I've just got to meet him and go from there."
So what are McCarthy's expectations when he visits Notre Dame?
"I really don't know what to expect," he said. "But we'll know next week."
Notre Dame definitely has some ground to make up, but with McCarthy on their campus this weekend it's certainly not an insurmountable lead for them overcome.
"Right now I'm undecided, but Ohio State is my leader and I had a great time at Ohio State," McCarthy said. "I live in Ohio, Jim Tressel is a great guy and Ohio State is a great program."
Buckeye fans are left wondering if that will still be enough to earn his commitment.