"I'm kind of enjoying the recruiting process, but at the same time I'm getting to a point of narrowing things down and making a decision hopefully – not real soon – but probably around Christmas I would say," McCarthy said.
"Ohio State is looking real good," McCarthy said. "(OSU assistant coach Tim) Beckman was in the house (Tuesday). Then, next week, (OSU head coach Jim) Tressel is coming down. I'm looking forward to that. I talked to him on the phone earlier (Tuesday). After Coach Beckman left, he called me. And (OSU linebackers coach Luke) Fickell actually called too. Kind of got them all calling. I gave Coach Tressel a call back and talked to him for a while. I'm real interested in Ohio State."
The other three schools on McCarthy's list are also hot on his trail.
"A Miami assistant coach was in on Monday," he said. "I think Nebraska has an assistant coach coming Saturday afternoon. Georgia Tech is bringing down everybody on Sunday. Head coach, defensive coordinator, linebacker coach… they're bringing everybody on Sunday."
McCarthy was asked if he has a leader at this point between the four schools.
"I'd probably say… it's difficult... but I'd probably say all four of them are pretty much equal right now," he said. "As far as after the home visits, I'll probably get a better idea. I'm going down to Miami the 16th of December for my last official visit. So, after that and after my home visits, I'll have a better idea."
But McCarthy doesn't hide the fact that he already feels comfortable talking to the coaches from OSU.
"When Coach Beckman came down (Tuesday) it felt a lot easier as far as talking to him and communicating with him and that kind of stuff," McCarthy said. "I didn't really get a chance to talk much with the coach from Miami because I haven't visited there yet. That could be something that affected me that way. But as far as Ohio State wise, I talk to the coaches a lot and I'm definitely interested. I'm actually going to go back up there and visit the campus one last time before I make my decision, as far as whether I go to Ohio State, or I go somewhere else, I'm definitely going to visit there again."
McCarthy took his official visit to OSU the weekend of Sept. 24 for the Iowa game.
"I had a great time," he said. "It feels like so long ago now, but I had a great time."
McCarthy is hearing the same recruiting line from all four schools. They are all telling him that he is a good fit for their system.
"They all pretty much say we need linebackers, but some schools, as far as depth-chart wise, you can tell that they're not in as desperate need as others," McCarthy said. "I mean, Ohio State is losing their starting three and you kind of have an idea where they're coming from in that respect. But all the schools are pretty much telling me, ‘We need you at linebacker. The opportunity here is as good as anywhere.'"
McCarthy has been hitting the weights hard and says he gained about five pounds during the season. But he has kept all of his speed. He is usually clocked in the 4.5 range.
"Actually my best time was a 4.49 at the Florida State camp," he said. "I went there for track."
McCarthy's high school football career at Clearwater Central Catholic ended on a disappointing note recently.
"We ended up losing last week in the state semifinals, which was kind of rough," he said. "We lost 42-22 to Pahokee, the defending state champs."
McCarthy had an impressive year on both sides of the ball. Defensively, he had 83 solo tackles, 65 assists, 26 tackles for loss, four sacks and one interception.
Offensively, he had 39 receptions for 640 yards and six touchdowns.
But he won't miss playing offense in college. Well, there's a chance he could see some action on the offensive side of the ball, but it's unlikely. McCarthy was born to be a linebacker.
"It's came up, as far as some of the different schools saying I might be able to play some offense and that kind of stuff," he said. "But, I think when I get to the next level I'll be playing only defense. I think I'm going to enjoy hitting people more than getting hit. I'm a linebacker. I just tried to play some offense just to help the team out or whatever."
McCarthy grew up in Pennsylvania, but moved to Florida prior to eighth grade.
"I grew up in the North and I love it up there," he said. "That's the reason I'm looking at a school like Ohio State up north just to get back up there and play just because I enjoyed it so much. As far as playing football up north, I'm definitely for that."