It's Ohio State Or Tennessee For D.C. Linebacker

Rico McCoy

Just a week ago Ohio State was seemingly in the driver's seat for the services of Rico McCoy. But after his visit to Tennessee a week later, both schools have a 50-50 chance to reel in the top-rated linebacker from the Washington D.C. area. He'll make his final decision public at the Army All-American Bowl.

According to Rico McCoy, his visit to Tennessee was indeed all that it was reported to be.

"I had fun. I enjoyed myself. I enjoyed myself like I did on all of my visits though," McCoy said. "I ain't going to have no bad time nowhere."

With his expectations high going into the visit, McCoy's overall impression of his trip to Tennessee was more than favorable.

"That stadium was crazy but so was Ohio State's," he said. "The people were cool. I got along with the players and coaches well down there. It was sweet. I didn't really know what to expect down there but I had a ball."

With Pittsburgh out of the equation now due to the coaching vacancy there and no other remaining visits that he intends to go on, it has officially become a two-horse race between Ohio State and Tennessee for McCoy's services.

"We're going to sit down as a family and talk about this thing. It's down to O-State and Tennessee for sure. They both got a lot to offer me," McCoy said. "They're both losing a lot of linebackers next year. They both have strong fan support and they're both nice places to go to I think. I'm not leaning one way in particular right now. I like both of them."

After giving Ohio State high marks on his visit there last weekend, it seemed as if only a knockout blow from Tennessee would alter his position.

"They were never that far behind. I was just going by what I had experienced so far," McCoy said. "I had been to Pitt and I had been to a couple of other schools unofficially and Ohio State stood out the most. And I hadn't visited Tennessee yet. But they had a lot to offer also. So they're both pretty good schools but yeah they made up some ground for sure."

After consulting with the important people in his life, McCoy will then make the final decision on his own between the two universities.

"We going to sit down as a family and talk about each school and see what everybody has to say about each school," he said. "But it's pretty tight right now."

As he did on his visit to Ohio State McCoy brought his parents on the trip with him to Tennessee.

"I brought my mom and my dad to Tennessee also but my little sister couldn't make it," he said. "But she spoke to Coach Fulmer and those guys when they came to the house (last time). She got a pin that my mom brought back from down there."

All of the McCoy family members will have their say in where they think he should go to school at but McCoy, himself, will have the most important word.

"Both schools impressed me a lot. And in the end I'm going to go where my heart leads me," he said. "I'm going to listen to what everyone has to say at the house but in the end that decision is going to come from my heart pretty much."

He should be well armed with information about both schools at that time.

"I like the way the players are taken care of (at Ohio State). I like the living arrangements for the guys," McCoy said. "The players bond a lot up there but they bond a lot down at Tennessee too. They both have stable coaching situations, I think, and both coaches know how to win. It's going to be a tight decision."

And was there a Marcus Freeman type of player at Tennessee that McCoy hit it off with and thought he'd really like to play with there?

"Omar Gaither was real cool," McCoy said. "I bonded with a couple of guys down there. I sat around and talked with Jason Allen and (Robert) Ayers, their defensive end. I talked to most of the guys down there and it was cool. I bonded with both group of guys there as well so, I don't know."

He continues to stick to his plan of announcing his final decision at the Army All-American game but he'll probably make his mind up before then.

"I'll probably know the week before the game. I'll know before I leave to go to San Antonio probably," McCoy said. "I'm going to keep it to myself. The family is going to know and I think I'm going to let my team know and if it gets out from them then hey. But I think if I can make it that far I might not let it out until that time (at the game)."

And McCoy claims that he does not know the answer for which school it will be at this very time.

"It's pretty much 50-50 now," he said. "I like both of the schools a lot. I really do."

A couple of members of the Buckeye coaching staff have already talked to McCoy on the telephone since his return home from Tennessee.

"I talked to Coach (Jim) Tressel last night and I talked to Coach Fickell yesterday too. That was neat," McCoy said. "But Coach Fulmer came to the house as soon as we got back from Ohio State. He met us at the house the night that we got back from Ohio State."

Andre Mathis, from Erie, Pa., is another top-rated linebacker who is scheduled to announce his decision sometime this week. McCoy has been to Ohio State and Tennessee with Mathis but McCoy said the choice that Mathis makes will have nothing to do with his eventual selection.

"No that won't be a factor," McCoy said. "I got to talk to him a couple of times and I know him pretty well and we've said it would be nice if we did play with each other, but I ain't going to go nowhere just to play with somebody else. I think he's announcing Wednesday and I don't know where he's going to go. I talked to him (Sunday) and he was giving me positive things on both schools and he was just as confused as I am."

McCoy's definitely got a lot of thinking of his own to do in about a month's time.

"I've got a tough decision on my hands," said McCoy who will host both coaching staffs in-home on Tuesday. "Yes I do!"

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