Kobe McCloud had been working out when Clemson called to offer him a scholarship.
The three-star linebacker out of Gaither (Tampa, Fla.) didn’t check his phone until he had gotten home. He spoke with his father and his brother, Ray-Ray McCloud III, and shortly thereafter announced an offer from the Tigers on social media.
“Me, Coach Dabo and my dad, we’ve been talking for a little bit now,” McCloud told The Clemson Insider in a phone interview Monday. “Crazy thing is — this is how it happened to be honest — he was watching my brother last night and he called my dad. He asked my dad if I signed yet and I hadn’t. I still have a couple offers on the table and I was deciding, so they offered me.”
“It was amazing, to be honest,” he said. “I know a lot about Clemson. My brother played there, I used to go up there a lot, so I kind of know the ins-and-outs of the culture and the environment.”
Speaking of his brother, Kobe sat down with him for an hour on Sunday night. Fresh off helping his Pittsburgh Steelers secure a spot in the playoffs, Ray-Ray was telling his younger brother about everything Clemson has to offer.
“He had nothing negative to say about Clemson’s coach, Coach Dabo,” Kobe said. “That was the point I liked and looked into. He said that he’s gonna teach you how to practice and play your best. He’s gonna bring the best out of you and that’s what I want, somebody who can bring the best out of me and get me to the next level. Every kid’s dream is to go to the NFL and I feel like with my brother and my environment, I have the blueprints to do it.”
While Kobe remains committed to Florida International, he’s keeping all his options on the table after the program underwent a coaching change. FIU hired Mike MacIntyre as its next head coach on Dec. 9, which left Kobe little time to make a decision if he were to sign early. He ultimately decided to wait to make a decision, which allowed for an offer from Clemson to come in on Sunday.
Kobe took an official visit to the University of Arizona about a month ago. His older brother, Jordan, plays quarterback for the Wildcats. Kobe also has an official visit set up to UMass later this month and of course, Clemson.
He’ll officially be visiting Clemson from Jan. 21-23, which is next weekend. His entire family will be coming along for the visit and if Ray-Ray’s playoff schedule with the Steelers permits it, he’ll probably make a return trip to Tiger Town as well.
“I’m very excited, super excited,” he said. “I can’t wait. I’ve been there so many times since my brother was there. I already know it’s a home. My brother loves it.”
In addition to Swinney and his brother, Kobe had a chance to speak with Clemson defensive coordinator/linebackers coach Wes Goodwin Sunday.
“Me and him had a good conversation yesterday, Coach Wesley,” he said. “He seems like an honest, respectful coach. He’s not that old. He’s a young coach. I’m excited to see the opportunity that they have to offer.”
According to Kobe, Swinney had told him a long time ago that he kind of reminds him of former Clemson linebackers like B.J. Goodson and Dorian O’Daniel, both of which went on to play at the next level.
Clemson is offering Kobe as a WILL backer. He plays inside and outside backer for Gaither.
“I’m good in space,” he said. “I’m not one of those 260-pound linebackers that’s just stuck in the middle, I can move around. I can cover very well, sideline-to-sideline is my strength. I practice that. I try to master just side-to-side, just being agile.”
How would Kobe describe himself as a player to someone who hasn’t seen him play before?
“I feel like I’m a Swiss Army knife,” he added. “My sophomore and junior year of high school, I played safety a lot. I feel like most linebackers aren’t able to play safety. My IQ, I feel like every time I step on the field, I’m gonna know everything.”
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