McCloud's Instagram prediction could come true Monday night

By Rishi Barran,
Last Updated: Friday, January 06, 2017, 1:36 PM EST

Back in August, Ray-Ray McCloud made a prediction in his final Instgram post before the season started.

Now, his mom, Lisa, can laugh about how close that prediction is to coming true.

The Instagram post was a picture McCloud created "of him behind the Tampa wall holding the national championship trophy," Lisa McCloud said.  "So it's pretty ironic.  I guess he knew they were going to be there (laughs)."

McCloud and the second-ranked Clemson Tigers will face the top-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide Monday night at Raymond James Stadium in a rematch of last year's national championship game.

The Tide won a thrilling 45-40 shootout in last year's title tilt.

The Tigers have been waiting all year for another shot at 'Bama and a chance to capture their second national championship in school history (the first was in 1981).

McCloud will get that opportunity in his figurative backyard.

Ray-Ray set a Hillsborough County record with 5,765 career rushing yards after the 2014 season that was just broken by Jesuit's Malik Davis this year.

McCloud was an electric performer for the Sickles Gryphons, playing at his best on the biggest stage.

Now the true sophomore he has the opportunity to shine in the spotlight again.

McCloud made his commitment to Clemson in our studio just two years ago, and he's been part of something special ever since.

Ray-Ray is back in Hillsborough county for his second national title game appearance in just his second year of college.

And mom has some advice for him.

“There’s only two teams in the national championship, so just enjoy it," Lisa McCloud said.  "Embrace every moment of it.  And just go out there and do your thing.”

It won't be the first time McCloud has played at Raymond James Stadium.

He came up with a big interception as a seventh grader in a 30-6 win there in 2010, when his Town 'N Country Packers youth team came through with a victory after being chosen to play in a game between league champions in the NFL stadium.

“Ever since he was little, he wanted to be one of the teams picked to go play there," Lisa McCloud said.  "But it’s nothing compared to Monday… the (great) feeling Monday is going to be for him and his family.”

McCloud is one of three Clemson wide receivers with local roots who will try to pull out the monumental win on their home turf.

In fact, McCloud and former Tampa Bay Tech star Deon Cain won multiple Pee Wee Super Bowls together playing for those Town 'N Country Packers, who were coached by Ray-Ray's father, Ray.

On Monday, those two will team up with former East Lake standout Artavis Scott with a chance to bring the Tigers home their second national title ever.

“For him, Artavis, Deon- to win a national championship in their home state- home city- would be amazing," Lisa McCloud said.

Ray-Ray's family will be cheering for him in the stands.

Lisa and Ray will be joined by their three other children: Jordan, Kobe, and Jayde.

They can't wait to see what Ray-Ray has in store for them in the biggest game of his life.