- Sam Khan Jr., ESPN Staff Writer
HOUSTON -- Though he hasn't taken an official visit yet, three-star defensive tackle Derrick Calloway feels confident that he knows where he wants to go. His hope is that his officials validate the choice in his mind, a choice he'll announce this weekend while participating in the Offense-Defense All-American Bowl festivities.
The Bradenton (Fla.) Manatee standout's choice will come from a final three of Louisville, Missouri and South Florida.
"I just feel real confident right now," Calloway said. "I was going to wait until the last minute, but I feel good about my decision, and once I get on campus, I think I'll feel way better, once I see it. Anybody can tell you how it is, but you've got to see it for yourself."
The 6-foot-1, 300-pound Calloway will take his first official on Jan. 11 to South Florida. A trip to Louisville will follow on Jan. 18, and the Missouri official will occur on Jan. 25.
At South Florida, Calloway established a good relationship with former defensive tackles coach Kevin Patrick, but Patrick wasn't retained on the staff when new coach Willie Taggart took over the Bulls. Still, Taggart's roots give Calloway some level of comfort.
"I had a real good relationship with coach Kevin Patrick," Calloway said. "He was the first one to offer me. Then coach Willie Taggart came in, and he didn't keep KP. But Taggart came from my high school, Manatee. So he understands what the deal is. They have a good recruiting class, and they're very interested in me and helping me get to the next level. That's what I like."
With Louisville, the fact that head coach Charlie Strong stayed, turning down overtures from other programs, appeals to Calloway, who is looking for stability in a college program.
"I have a really good relationship with coach [Sherrone] Moore," Calloway said. "Coach Moore, [Clint] Hurtt and Strong are coming down in January to see me. I'm really interested in them. I like the way coach Strong didn't leave; he stayed there. He had many options to go somewhere else, but he didn't. He stayed. That's a big commitment. I like that."
With Missouri, the combination of education and the chance at a pro future appeals to Calloway.
"I know they put a lot of D-linemen in the NFL, and that's what I really like," he said. "I want to get an education and stuff, but I really want to go to the next level."
After he makes his announcement, he admits his official visits could affect his decision, depending on how the visits go.
"It could," Calloway said. "It really depends on how the visits go. If I really like it or love it, I'm going to stick with my decision. If I don't, I can see what else is out there."