After a late visit to Auburn stirred up some controversy, Ray-Ray McCloud is officially a Clemson Tiger. McCloud's late visit to Auburn with fellow Tiger commit Deon Cain cause a lot of consternation for Clemson fans, but in the end the Tampa, Florida, running back stayed true to his word and signed a letter of intent with the Clemson Tigers.
McCloud, who is listed as an ATH/RB by most recruiting services, is a 4 star recruit from Sickles High School. He measures in at 5'9" and 175 pounds with an unlisted 40 time though it certainly looks pretty fast. He was recruited by Jeff Scott with Tony Elliott as his secondary recruiter. Clemson beat out Alabama and Auburn among others for his signature.
The big concern with McCloud is just how Clemson plans to use him. With his current size it is extremely hard to see McCloud as a pure RB, especially when blocking. A safer plan may be to treat him more like a WR with options to hand the ball off on jet sweeps, maybe run a few wheel routes, and other fun plays that we haven't seen since Sammy Watkins departed for the NFL.
QT's Take: I had a man crush and I liked it.
As you all know, I have been tantalized by Ray Ray McCloud's skill set since the moment I watched his film. This was long before Clemson was even thought to be in the running for his services. I'm going to disagree with Brian a tad because I think Ray Ray could be successful wherever you lined him up on the field (this could be the man crush talking but just go with me). He could play DB, where programs like Alabama wanted him to play, or he could play as an undersized running back. He is ideally suited to line up all over the field and make defenses pay for mismatches as a hybrid RB and WR, which is how Clemson will use him.
What makes McCloud so good is his elite quickness in short spaces. Let me repeat--lateral agility is uncanny. He isn't burning people by just running around everyone and being the best athlete on the field. He knows how to run between the tackles and make defensive lineman and LB's miss in the hole. He is slippery and elusive as a runner--not taking big shots from defenders and often turning a four or five yard gain into a 20 yards. He isn't a burner but has good enough speed to beat defenders to the edge. He is a tough runner between the tackles despite his size.
As a receiver, he has elite hands and agility. You can't cover him with a LB. What more can I say--he will be an explosive playmaker. I know some are upset over all the late recruiting pageantry but this is Tampa recruiting. Every great relationship needs a tiny hit of drama--some spice. At the end of the recruiting day, McCloud signed and he will be dynamic in this offense. Oh and remember when that guy had those 'sources' and was so sure McCloud was going to flip to UF and then UCLA and then USF? Dabo'd.