The JC transfer, who went to a junior college for the sole purpose of getting recruited by a Pac-10 school, visited UCLA two weekends ago, went home, thought it over, then made the dream happen.
"Growing up in Arizona, in Pac-10 country, it was a dream of mine to always play college football in the Pac-10," Raney said. "When UCLA had offered, I was pretty excited. I talked it over with my parents and then I committed."
Raney intended to go to a junior college for a year, and had hoped that would provide him with options for a 4-year school. But he was forced to play offensive tackle, and didn't get to play tight end, stemming his recruitment.
After being able to move back to tight end, where he had around 30 receptions for 400 yards, Raney saw his recruitment pick up.
"UCLA didn't really start recruiting me until the second half of the season. Coach (Gary) Bernardi was the one who was calling me. They told me to take a trip out there and check out the campus, then Coach (Karl) Dorrell offered me. He is a great guy, pretty honest, and I think he will get the job done."
Raney has three years to play two seasons, and while his plans for next year are to play, he knows redshirting is an option.
"I'm looking forward to coming in January. I'll get to work out with the team, and then be a part of spring practice, get into the system. Whether I play next year is how I do in spring and then fall practice."
On his trip, Raney was hosted by outgoing tight end Blane Kezerian, and spent some time enjoying his first visit to the UCLA campus.
"It was really nice. All-around, the campus is nice. The neighborhood is great. I met with Coach K (Kezirian, the academic advisor) for academics. I'd never been there before so it was cool to see the campus and the area."
Now, with Raney scheduled to come in at the beginning of 2004, he will spend his holidays watching football, most notably the Silicon Valley Bowl.
"Yeah, I'll watch that game. I'm looking forward to it. Those are going to be my teammates now and a win gives us some momentum towards next year."