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Ray-Ray McCloud Declares for the NFL Draft

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NCAA Football: ACC Championship-Clemson vs Miami Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Clemson Junior WR Ray-Ray McCloud will enter the NFL draft, announcing his plans via Twitter on Sunday. He is the second draft eligible junior to declare for the NFL draft, as Taylor Hearn cited his plans before the Sugar Bowl.

The move by McCloud comes as a bit of a surprise. He was a starter at WR and punt returner for the Tigers, but also trained at CB, contributing in the secondary during crunch time of the win at NC State. Many felt cornerback would be his best position at the next level and another year at Clemson would allow for more reps there.

His departure opens another scholarship for the Tigers for the February signing period. It looks like this class won’t be quite as small as originally expected.

Updated 2018 Scholarship Breakdown

# Departing Seniors # Stated Transfers # Stated Early Departures # Other Open Scholarships # Potential Early Departures # Potential Transfers
# Departing Seniors # Stated Transfers # Stated Early Departures # Other Open Scholarships # Potential Early Departures # Potential Transfers
1 DJ Greenlee 7 Amir Trapp 8 Taylor Hearn 10 Kaleb Bevelle 13 Van Smith 19 QB
2 Maverick Morris 9 Ray-Ray McCloud 11 Kelby Bevelle 14 Clelin Ferrell 20 RB
3 Tyrone Crowder 12 Pat Godfrey 15 Christian Wilkins 21 Other
4 Ryan Carter 16 Deon Cain
5 Marcus Edmond 17 Mitch Hyatt
6 Dorian O'Daniel 18 Austin Bryant

The class, which currently stands at 15, could be as big as 21 if all the listed “potential” NFL departures and transfers go. More likely, a couple will stay, which would put the open scholarship number at about 18 or 19 (meaning they can take three or four more signees).

As for Clemson’s offense next year, Amari Rodgers will be a sophomore and is well equipped to fill the void. Tee Higgins is also a rising star and should see an increase in playing time potentially playing at multiple WR spots or pushing Cain to do so (should he return). Maybe the biggest beneficiaries of the departure are Cornell Powell and Trevion Thompson who could see increased snaps with McCloud removed from the depth chart. I hope to see them get opportunities that they otherwise may not have seen.

I would have liked to see what Ray-Ray could do in a senior season. The loss certainly hurts, but the Tigers have the depth at WR to avoid a major drop off from this unexpected news and we’re excited to see opportunities for new players and those who have waited patiently for their time.

It would be a surprise if he was one of the top 10 WRs drafted or if he was taken in the first three round of the draft, making it an odd move. Nevertheless, we wish him well and hope to see him prove those projections wrong!