Taking It Easy

MARIETTA, Ga. - Ben Cleveland is only a sophomore in high school, so he's not rushing to make a decision.

Ben Cleveland, a class of 2016 offensive tackle out of Stephens County High School, has already gotten scholarship offers from Clemson, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and Texas. While Cleveland's list is short, he's going about the selection process at a leisurely pace.

"Right now it's just really slow; taking it easy," Cleveland said. "Kind of enjoying the ride more than so. Just enjoying everything that I can because it's very rare that this happens, especially to somebody as young as I am."

The 6-foot-5, 320-pound lineman is going over the small details of the recruitment process, such as talking to his recruiters on a consistent basis. Cleveland says he tries to keep in contact with recruiters from each of his top-five schools at least once or twice a month.

Georgia's Will Friend makes it a point to stay in contact with Cleveland.

"He's a great guy," Cleveland said. "He cares about his players and each time I'm at Georgia he makes it a part of his day to come talk to me."

Having a close relationship with your position coach can't be overrated, but Cleveland already has his sights set on the bigger picture - the NFL. He wants to play for coaches capable of preparing him for an illustrious career at the professional level.

"Definitely how coaches try to get their players in the NFL and getting their players to have a good education and graduate with a really high degree," Cleveland said.

If he wants a coach that can put players in the NFL, Cleveland can just take a look at the NFL draft board from 2012. There he'll find three players Friend coaches - Cordy Glenn, Ben Jones and Justin Anderson.

Cleveland stressed the importance of both playing in the NFL as well as graduating with a degree.

Cleveland hasn't decided on what his college major will be, but high school sophomores rarely do. However, the Toccoa, Ga. native wants to focus on something dealing with the outdoors.

"Wildlife biology is one of my top choices," Cleveland said.

Cleveland has a brother that attends school at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, Ga. While Cleveland and his parents wouldn't mind him staying a little closer to home, maybe Georgia or Clemson, he says he's willing to go as far as it takes to find the right fit.

"It would help, but if another school further away from home has a better chance of getting me to the next level then I'm not going to hesitate," Cleveland said.

So what's the four-star offensive tackle been up to lately?

Before competing at the Nike NFTC Football Camp at Lassiter High in March, Cleveland took his junior day visit to Clemson. He was impressed by the facilities the school had devoted to education for its student-athletes.

"It was real good," Cleveland said. "We got to tour the whole school and got to see the academic building for the student athletes and that was really impressive because it just showed what they're willing to put in to get all they can out of their athletes."

Cleveland wants education, and he wants a coach that can get him to the NFL. His goal is to find a school that presents the best of both worlds before he begins his senior season.

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