Houston has long had its eyes on Tyler McCloskey, even before the current coaching staff was in place.
In recent weeks, as the Cougars ramped up their recruitment, the Houston Memorial prospect decided that the Cougars were the right fit for him at the next level and gave them his pledge to join their 2013 recruiting class.
The 6-foot-2, 220-pound McCloskey, who played quarterback for Memorial this year, will be an inside linebacker for the Cougars when he arrives. The combination of the coaching staff's relationship with him, the new facilities, the school's location and the education won him over.
"They've been recruiting me for awhile," McCloskey said. "The staff that was at Houston before with [Kevin] Sumlin, I went to a couple of games down there as a recruit. My senior year, they really started to pick it up. They came out to the spring game, and I've had the chance to talk to Coach [Tony] Levine a couple of times.
"The past couple of weeks, they've really come after me hard, and Coach [Jamie] Bryant, the defensive coordinator, came to school. Coach [Carlton] Hall, [the defensive line coach], he came to school. Me and coach Levine have talked a couple of times a week. It really feels like a good place and they really wanted me."
McCloskey, who threw for 1,456 and nine touchdowns while rushing for 966 yards and 18 touchdowns for the Mustangs this year, has no qualms about moving from offense to defense. In fact, he said, he has experience at the position. Every school that recruited him (Navy and Houston Baptist offered; Louisiana Tech, Nebraska, Northwestern, TCU and other showed interest) looked at him as a linebacker.
"It's not really a problem, because my sophomore year I was a linebacker, and I've played quarterback with a linebacker mentality," McCloskey said. "We run a zone-read, so I wasn't sitting back in the pocket wearing a skirt or anything. I was running up in the 'A' gap and running over linebackers and things like that. I played linebacker my sophomore year, so I know how to do it."
While McCloskey has made several unofficial visits to campus, he'll take his official visit the weekend of Jan. 11. He recently took a campus tour and liked what he saw.
"They're doing a whole lot of construction," McCloskey said. "They look like they're building it up real nice. I went on a tour of the campus with the admissions counselors, and they're doing a good job of building it all up. The schools there are great -- the law school, the business school, those are all good."
After leading his team to an 8-4 record this year, he's glad to now have something else to look forward to.
"I feel like I really have something to work for now," McCloskey said. "Every day of my life, I've had something to work for. Then when we ended the year, and I tried to go lift weights, but I didn't have anything to do it for. Now, I do. It feels good. Being committed, it's very exciting."