Cleveland Signs w/ UGA: What It Means

Dean Legge explains what Ben Cleveland signing with UGA means.

What it means: It means the Bulldogs nailed down a guy there was no way they could miss on, and he’s a massive offensive lineman who could be the right tackle of the future in the program. Cleveland has to be developed. He’s from an area of Georgia where high school football players are not developed the way they are in metro Atlanta. Cleveland could probably excel in the future at guard, but if he can somehow get more bend and wiggle he could move on out to right tackle. Its hard to imagine him playing left tackle, but that’s not impossible. 

If Sam Pittman wants big, massive kids to play for him on the offensive line he’s got a good one in Cleveland. I saw the big fellow play a lot over time. He got much better from 2014 to 2015. He’s always been a very big guy, but he was noticeably better from the summer of 2014 to the summer of 2015. 

Now, the challenge for Cleveland will be adaptation. Now that everyone is closer to him in size (almost none of the defensive linemen he will be going against are going to be as big as him), he’s going to have to get used to dealing with much more speed. He simply didn’t see that at Stephens County. He got some exposure to it in the 2016 US Army All-American Game, but he’s going to see that every day from here on out. 

We will see just how ready Cleveland is for the 2016 season by about G Day. He “should” play in 2016. The offensive line needs some help, and he could provide just that on the interior. Could he start? Possibly, but its not ideal to have a true freshman playing on the offensive line. Its happened lately at UGA (John Theus, Ben Jones, Clint Boling, Trenton Sturdivant, Cordy Glenn and Kenarious Gates come to mind), but the two players departing played tackled - not guard, which is where Cleveland will line up this fall. 

Dean Legge saw him live: 2013 Stephens County at St. Pius; 2014 MVP Camp; 2014 Dawg Night; 2014 Stephens County at Monroe; 2015 Dawg Night; 2015 Hart County at Stephens County

Chad Simmons says: Not many, if any on the high school level look the way Cleveland does. He is one of the most talked about prospect nationwide due to his frame. Very strong and someone who knows how to work. Really gets after it hard. Plays a lot of defense in high school, but will be an OL in college. Needs to improve footwork and quickness to stay at tackle. Likely a guard who can drive block and knock defenders off the ball on the next level.

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