"I've heard nothing but good things [about Northwestern], besides the weather," Long said. "The Big Ten, you know how that is. There's the whole Midwest football thing, and I'd love to be part of that atmosphere."
Long is expected to get a closer look at the weather and the atmosphere in the near future, as he is planning to make an unofficial visit to the school in early April.
Long told PurpleWildcats.com he knows what he is looking for in a school, and he noted that Northwestern fits most, if not all, of his criteria well.
"Here's all the factors, not in any particular order: The atmosphere of the school, am I going to play, how prestigious it is – that's it in a nutshell," Long said. "But I'm just trying to get as many offers as I can, get as many options as possible. After that, it could be Northwestern, but once I have all the offers I'm going to get, then my parents and I are going to sit down and talk about it and figure out what's the best decision."
Although Long said he was surprised that his first offer came from the Midwest, rather than a Pac-12 school, he indicated that Northwestern has an edge over at least one Pac-12 institution that may soon extend him an offer.
"Colorado, they've been sending me a lot of stuff, but the thing with Colorado is they want me to play linebacker," Long said. The soon-to-be senior, who also plays outside linebacker in James Logan's 4-4 scheme, said he would consider focusing on defense – or even switching positions – if the situation called for it, but he added, "Running back, that's what I play. That's what I've played since I was a kid."
And it is a position he has played well: The 5-foot-11, 195-pound running back, who has also attracted some level of interest from Stanford, Oregon and UCLA, ran for 1,500 yards and scored 17 touchdowns as a sophomore, and he ran for 1,300 yards and scored 30 touchdowns last fall.
However, he said he is not satisfied with those totals.
"I really want to rush for 2,000 yards," Long said. "That's something I have yet to do in my high school career … If I can squeeze in 500 yards here or there, I'd be happy."