"Honestly, Georgia Tech and Florida are probably my top two. I like both staffs. I'm from South Georgia, so going up there you've got to like Georgia Tech. That was my school to go to before this recruiting thing started.
"And then Florida came. Coach [Will] Muschamp [and] Coach Dan Quinn, they were all good when I went down there [and] treated me like family."
Although UNC has ground to make up, McCalister says it's not due to the uncertainty surrounding the program.
"Coach Mo' [Allen Mogridge] is my recruiter and he still writes me every day [and] we still have a good relationship," McCalister said. "The only thing that's different is Coach [Everett] Withers stepped up."
Since Butch Davis' dismissal a couple weeks ago, McCalister has conversed with Mogridge.
"He just said, ‘It's not looking good, but don't rule us out, [because] we'll be alright,'" McCalister said. "I told him, ‘I understand. That's what happens in NCAA football.' It's a business. So I understand what's going on."
McCalister, a 6-foot-5, 203-pounder, has visited all four aforementioned schools, except Notre Dame, plus NC State, South Carolina, and Wake Forest.
"I'll probably have to wait until an official to visit Notre Dame," McCalister said.
Before making a verbal commitment, McCalister plans on officially visiting all four of his favorite schools.
"I'm looking for where I feel most comfortable at," McCalister said. "I have to live there for four or five years. It's going to be my new home, so I've got to feel comfortable as far as staff, game play, and just like environment."
In the meantime, McCalister's focus is his senior football season, which has included several adjustments beginning with playing with an entirely different group of teammates. Last spring, McCalister transferred from Winston-Salem (N.C.) Reynolds to Clemmons (N.C.) West Forsyth.
"I knew some kids that were already here, because I went to Clemmons Middle School," McAlister said. "So it hasn't been too difficult."
At Reynolds, McCalister exclusively played defensive end. For West Forsyth, although he'll play some defensive end, most of the time he'll stand up at weak-side linebacker in its 3-4 scheme.
"I went to camp at [Appalachian State] and I played outside linebacker the whole time and I've been doing it a lot in practice," McCalister said. "I've adjusted to it real well."
The position move could help McCalister beyond high school as several schools have discussed using him in the same capacity.
"They all want to use me as a pass rusher and some have said outside linebacker," McCalister said. "So it's good that I'm getting the experience [of standing up].
"My stance and take off has been the biggest adjustment. When I was a 4-3 D-end [at Reynolds], I used to get down on all fours, because I felt like I had a better take off. Now, just on two I had to learn how to get my initial speed coming off the edge."
With McCalister on roster, West Forsyth expects to improve on last season's 8-4 record.
"At West Forsyth, we want to win championships – plural," coach Adrian Snow said. "We feel pretty good about our opportunity to do that. We're in a great league with good coaches, so we'll have to play well.
"[McCalister] is just another athlete that you add in there. With him, he's very long – that 7-2 wingspan helps out a bunch. He's catching on with what we're asking him to do. He's very coachable."