After going from the lowest of lows to the highest of highs, Ray-Ray McCloud has come into the spotlight as No. 3 Clemson’s speed demon this year. Whether he is returning a punt (he is currently ranked second in the FBS in punt return yards) or using his shiftiness to take a screen pass down the field, McCloud has elevated his game.
If the past three games are an indicator of what is to come, McCloud seems primed to have a breakout sophomore campaign.
McCloud discusses his connection with Deshaun Watson, overcoming his fumbled punt against Troy and much more.
Q: Do you feel like you have chemistry or a rhythm with Deshaun that you’ve never had before or was it like that all through August?
McCloud: “We’ve been building that since skills and drills in the spring. That’s really what it’s all about. I feel like all of the receivers have a certain connection with him. I think he can throw it to anyone on the team and it will be a great play.”
Q: Ray-Ray, what do you think it says about you that over the last two weeks you went from making a big mistake to having you’re best performance here as a wide-receiver? You have to be pretty proud of how you responded.
McCloud: “It wasn’t about responding, it was about having a short-term memory. That’s what all great players have and that’s what I have installed in myself. You’re going to make mistakes, you’re going to fail and having short-term memory is what I have been trying to work on.”
Q: I guess it kind of helps that Coach Swinney put you right back out there and gave you the opportunity to do the things that you’ve done?
McCloud: “That just shows the trust he has in me and what type of coach he is. He’s going to make you earn it. In life you’re going to make mistakes and you have to get back up. He teaches us to be a better man and not just a good football player.”
Q: How much confidence do you have right now when you step on the football field?
McCloud: “I will always have confidence. It was a matter of me thinking too much. I just need to go out and play ball and be myself and just having fun.”
Q: I know you’re friendly with some guys on the Georgia Tech squad. How much excitement does that add for you on a personal level?
McCloud: “Actually one called me today but we weren’t talking about the game. It’s going to be a big game because when I was down there in the summer they were saying that they couldn’t wait for that game. We haven’t beaten them in Atlanta since 2003 I think. I think it’s a big game for us because it’s a conference game. We’re going to treat every game like we’re playing Troy, Auburn or South Carolina State again.”
Q: Do you feel like the coaches have more confidence in you now? Do you feel like they trust you more after what they’ve seen from you this year?
McCloud: “I assume they do. Like you said, Coach Swinney put me back in there after I made a mistake so I assume he does. I don’t worry about whether coaches trust me or not. I just need to make plays, go out there when my number is called and make few mistakes.”