Oradell (N.J.) Bergen Catholic linebacker Brian Cushing capped a great senior season by leading his team to the state title in a 13-10 win over Don Bosco Prep. Now he can focus on the recruiting process.
"It was huge for us to win the state title," said the 6-foot-4, 225-pounder. "We've come so close to beating Bosco before, so to finally win is a great way to cap our careers as seniors."
Cushing led his team with 186 yards rushing on 31 carries, two catches for 81 yards and 16 tackles with three sacks on defense. He scored both of Bergen's touchdowns.
"Everyone played great," he said. "It was a team effort."
Now Cushing will focus on the recruiting process, a process that took a strange turn last week with the firing of Ty Willingham at Notre Dame.
"It was a shock and my dad was as upset or probably more upset than I was," he said. "My dad likes Notre Dame and Boston College in a big way, so now he favors BC. We're going to have to wait and see who the new coach is at Notre Dame."
Meanwhile, Cushing has set up visits with Louisville (Dec. 17), Virginia (Jan. 21) and a tentative date with Miami on Jan. 28. He will also take an official to Southern Cal and to BC.
"I met with the BC coaches last week and I spoke to Brian Toal on the phone last week and I decided to take an official there," he said. "I've already been to Notre Dame and I don't think I need to go back. I like everything about it except the coaching situations, so they're on hold."
Cushing has coaches from Penn State and Maryland coming in early this week and coach McNair from USC will be in on Tuesday. He hosted coach Hargreaves and Cristobal Sunday night at his home.
"I like the way Miami presents things," he said. "Coach Hargreaves doesn't pull any punches, he tells it like it is. He said I'd have a good chance to coming in and starting at Miami because they've struggled on defense a bit. Miami doesn't beg you to come to their school, they present it and let you decide. I like that."
Cushing still has the same leader though.
"USC is on top now that Notre Dame has fallen," he said. "It's the No. 1 program in the country. My visit will be big out there because that will tell me if it's too far away."
Both Virginia and Louisville are very much in the mix.
"I'm going to Virginia on what is becoming knows as 'New Jersey Day' on Jan. 21 with all the top guys committed there," he said. "And Louisville's situation is interesting because I'm hearing rumors about coach Petrino to Ole Miss and things like that. Hopefully he stays."