There have been few practices this spring in which Ray-Ray McCloud’s name has not been mentioned by either Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney or co-offensive coordinator’s Jeff Scott and Tony Elliott.
Swinney has said the Tigers’ junior wide receiver has been the most consistent receiver in camp, while Scott, his position coach, has said he is having the best practices of his career at Clemson. So what’s the difference in McCloud than in the previous two springs?
The Tampa, Fla., native says it has more to do with his new approach to his career than anything else.
“I come out here every day with the mentality that I am one of the best in the country,” McCloud said. “If you don’t feel like you are the best and you are not confident, then you are not going to perform well.
“Every day in the weight room and every day at practice, I kind of push it to the limit. I’m becoming a better leader and I am taking care of my body more. I’m being more professional than anything and I’m making it more of a business for me. I’m grinding every day.”
McCloud finished last season with 49 catches to rank third on the team. His 472 yards ranked sixth on the squad and he scored two touchdowns. However, he had 32 catches for 339 yards and both touchdowns prior to an ankle injury he suffered at Florida State in the eighth game of the season. After that he was never the same as the injury caused him to miss the Syracuse game the following week, and then it lingered the rest of the year.
But, McCloud says the injury did not affect his confidence, instead it made him want to work harder this year in order to make up for what happened in the second half of the 2016 season. The rising junior suffered a knee injury during his freshman season that slowed him down as well.
However, the injuries have never hurt his confidence.
“I have always had confidence. My downs have come because I have gotten hurt,” he said. “It has nothing to do with the way I’m playing. My sprained ankle, there was nothing I could do. That’s the man upstairs. Everything happens for a reason. I just go out there and play.”
Watch the rest of McCloud’s interview with the media on TCITV.
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