Colorado football coaches are in the homestretch of the 2012 recruiting cycle, still waiting on several key recruits to make up their minds, but they likely won't have to wait long to nail down their first commitment for the 2013 class.
He is a prospect with legendary Colorado bloodlines.
Coach Jon Embree has offered a scholarship to the son of former CU defensive lineman Shannon Clavelle and the grandson of former Colorado coach Bill McCartney.
Derek McCartney was named first-team all-state this season at defensive end after helping lead Faith Christian to the state quarterfinals. He might have a couple state titles in him before he leaves the prep ranks behind.
He is a member of the boys basketball team at Faith Christian, which is ranked No. 1 in Class 3A, and he is probably the favorite to win the state title in the shot put after finishing second last spring. The defending state champ in shot put graduated.
McCartney is a senior this year. He said Embree offered him a scholarship as a grayshirt, meaning he would delay his enrollment until January 2013.
It is the only scholarship offer McCartney has received, though he said he could attend Baylor or Oregon as a walk-on if something made him decide not to attend CU. He is leaning heavily toward being a Buff.
McCartney said he is "pretty sure but not positive" that he will accept Embree's offer. He said he will make a final decision by the middle of February.
"It is pretty cool," McCartney said. "Ever since I like have been thinking about college, since freshman year, I wanted to earn a scholarship and I did. It just happened to be at CU, which is really cool because it's home and I'd be close to my family still. It's just a good fit for me I think."
McCartney is 6-foot-4 and 218 pounds. CU is recruiting him to play defensive end or outside linebacker, though he also played tight end for his high school team.
Coaches see him as a pass rusher in college. He hopes to use the next year to add weight and strength. He would like to be 240 pounds or better when he begins his college career.
"Honestly I think it's a good thing for me just because I am undersized for the position I want to play, and I need time to get bigger," McCartney said. "It's a good opportunity for that."
He obviously grew up in a family that was nearly 100 percent black and gold. His older half-brother, quarterback T.C. McCartney, attended LSU as a walk-on and is now a graduate assistant with the Tigers.
"I don't know if I would have been allowed to be in my family actually," McCartney joked when asked about the possibility of rooting for a different school when he was growing up.
McCartney said CU coaches knew more about him than he did about them when he attended CU's football camp last summer. He said it has been cool getting to know some of old Buffs about whom he heard stories when he was a boy.
McCartney wants to be a doctor when he is finished with football. He said he understands that succeeding as a student with such a demanding degree program, as well as succeeding on the football field, will require monumental effort and focus at times. He believes he is up to the challenge.
He said he never has felt pressure to go to CU before the scholarship offer or after.
"My grandpa and my family support me," McCartney said. "They're telling me like, yes, I've got a scholarship offer to CU and it would be great to go there and they want me to go there, but they are not trying to force me to go there. They want me to go where my heart is telling me to go."