'16 OT Ben Cleveland Surprised by U-M Offer

Toccoa (Ga.) Stephens County High 2016 offensive tackle Ben Cleveland discusses his Michigan offer, whether he'll visit the Wolverines this summer, other schools of interest and more.

Sophomore offensive tackle Ben Cleveland is already being pursued by some of the top programs in SEC and ACC territory.

But that all changed last week, when Cleveland received a "surprise" visit from Michigan assistant Darrell Funk, who extended an offer to the four-star lineman.

"(Coach Funk) came down to visit me," Cleveland said, who stands at 6-foot-7, 325-pounds. "Once he told me about the offer, it was a surprise to me. Because I didn't think a school from that far north would come this far south this early in the process. That was just a big shock for me."

Cleveland, who stars at Toccoa (Ga.) Stephens County High, said he will "definitely" try to visit the Wolverines this summer, but before he does, the 2016 prospect says he has to do some research on the Maize & Blue first.

"Right now I don't know much about Michigan," Cleveland said. "But during the summer when I'll be making visits to more and more schools, before I visit, I am going to do some research on them and find out what I like and what I don't like about every school. That way I can have knowledge to myself on whatever school I go visit."

Currently, Cleveland has offers from Auburn, Georgia, Clemson, Florida, South Carolina, Texas and Michigan. He is also hearing considerable interest from Alabama , and has been on campus visits to Auburn, Georgia and Clemson.

And while Cleveland doesn't have any set visits coming up, he made it known what he is looking for when he checks out a particular program.

"Definitely the academics," Cleveland said. "That's the main thing I am concerned about is going somewhere where I can get a good education. That way whenever football is over for me, I will have something to fall back on. And another thing is how well are the coaches are putting players into the NFL."

In the meantime, Cleveland says he will continue to work on his skill-set this off-season.

"Definitely my footwork," Cleveland said. "As well as getting stronger in the weight room. Just stepping on the field and making an example out of anybody that steps in front of me. I want to prove that I'm the best and I'm not just a lot of hype with all these offers and anything. That I really am what I was brought up to be."

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