McCloud spending three days in L.A.

McCloud spending three days in L.A.

2015 Tampa (Fla.) Sickles running back Ray 'Ray Ray' McCloud is in Los Angeles (Calif.) to camp with UCLA and USC. Is the West Coast really where he wants to be?

Ray McCloud is over 2,500 miles away from home for the first time in his life.

The Tampa (Fla.) Sickles running back is spending a long three days in Los Angeles (Calif.) camping with UCLA and USC.

He says the West Coast and California sunshine is certainly growing on him, so much so that he can absolutely consider UCLA, USC, and Oregon as top contenders in his recruitment.

"I have high, high interest in all three," McCloud told Scout, but the Ducks won't be getting a visit from him on this West Coast swing.

The Bruins and Trojans, however, are.

McCloud spent nearly 48 hours at UCLA camping with the Bruins and hanging out with coaches and players from the team. "It's been great," McCloud said of his time in Westwood.

The Scout four-star is being recruited by Bruins quarterbacks coach Taylor Mazzone and head coach Jim Mora.

"They just say that they love and I have a home here whenever I'm ready and they'll make me the best player I can be," McCloud explained, adding that his relationship with Mazzone is very close. "He came down [to Tampa] a couple times to watch me at school, he's a great person. Even if I don't choose to come to UCLA, I hope to have a relationship with him."

McCloud, 5-foot-11 172-pounds, was a standout performer during the Bruins camp despite performing just days after finishing second in the IMG National 7on7 tournament. "My body is kind of worn out, but I thought I did pretty good," McCloud said. One particular play drew awes from the crowd as he extended for a touchdown reception before jumping the fence lining the field.

"[UCLA camp] was great, real competitive," he said. "The way they coach is great. I love it."

McCloud also commented how impressed he was to see current and former UCLA players lining the practice field to coach and observe the action.

"The players that come back home, it shows something when players come back to help, how they wanna coach and be a part of the program. That's something I want to be a part of," he said.

On Thursday, McCloud will make the short drive across town to spend the morning camping at USC.

McCloud is close with current Trojan receiver and fellow Tampa native Nelson Agholor, who he says talks to him consistently about the Trojans. "He says ‘Come take over' and all that stuff," McCloud explained, adding that he knows a bit about the Trojans since growing up watching former Trojans Reggie Bush and LenDale White reign at USC.

"I'm going to go up there for myself and see the campus for the first time and spend time with coaches," he said.

The Trojans staff admittedly jumped into McCloud's recruitment a bit late since making the move from Washington to USC, but McCloud says it's not holding them back from the possibility of earning a commitment.

"[Tight ends] Coach [Marques Tuiasosopo] just they told me they recruited me late and they apologized for that because of the whole Lane Kiffin thing that happened," he said. "But there is no problem with that. Auburn came in late, [Alabama] came in late, and some schools it happens to be like that."

The reality of McCloud committing to a school on the West Coast appears slim, though not out of the picture. His father left home to go to college at Arkansas and stresses the need for his son to make a sound business decision because it will impact the rest of his life. McCloud's mother, he explained, would have a bit tougher time watching her son move across the country.

"It's a pro and con thing," said McCloud. "Just because my goal is to go three years and go to the league. I think that's everyone's goal but three to four years, maybe even five years away -- home is always going to be there, my family is always going to be there."

McCloud currently has a list of 12 favorite schools, though he has yet to publicly list them.

Oregon, UCLA and USC remain in the hunt.

McCloud has not set any official visits, though wants to take all five. He plans to announce his verbal commitment around the high school all-star games in January.

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