Avery Cleveland - LB - 6-3, 200, 4.5/40 - Austin, TX. (Johnson) - It's says a lot for a person's dedication to off-season conditioning when the grueling adventure that is two-a-days doesn't cause them to shake with fear. For those players that have dedicated themselves to this game of football, this is but another step back to the actual games. Avery said that two-a-days are always demanding, but what he's done when coaches weren't around has helped him for when the time came that they were. "I've been working out all Summer and so I am used to it." Cleveland stated.
Avery's conditioning is only one factor that has him being watched by many. It also has something to do with the fact that he can play this game at a very high level. High enough to tally 106 tackles, 4 pass break-ups and 4 sacks last year as a junior. This season, Avery expects even more, as do more than a few very select schools. Right now, Avery stated that he's got a ton of offers. "Too many to count", is actually how he put it. So, the question is, out of all those looking at him, who is he looking at? The list has changed somewhat from the one you have seen most recently on theinsiders as Arkansas bows out and Georgia Tech comes in as one of the top five teams he is considering. The rest of them are; Colorado, Miami, Nebraska and Texas A&M.
Needless to say, these are those that stand the best chance (right now) of being amongst his official visits. With his dedication being more towards the high school game however, there's going to be some time between now and when Cleveland plans on making a decision.
It's a decision that comes with patience, but ironically, that's not necessarily what Avery is known for most. In fact, you would be hesitant to associate any degree of calmness with Cleveland, especially when you realize that his nickname is "Hitman II". A name that indicates ferocity, a name that indicates an aggressiveness to dominate his opponent. It's his style, but the "II" indicates that isn't just his or hasn't always been. "When my dad was in high school at LBJ, he was called "Hitman". Cleveland stated. "So, I am like the second generation "hitman". But, Avery is not called that name simply because of lineage, but because he shared something for the game that his father had as well, meanness. "You have to go forever and take no surrender out there." Avery stated. "You have to give it everything you got the whole game."
Avery's ferocity on defense finds it's opportunities for expression in a variety of circumstances, but for all defensive players, nothing gets better than seeing a lone ball carrier that doesn't see you. "That's the best." Avery stated. "My adrenaline just starts rushing and I don't know, it all just comes out in that hit. You just want to take their head off."
You can't know what dedication can for a player unless you see it in full effect. You can't know what having that "game on" mentality, until you see someone that has that mindset even with football isn't being played. It's about playing your position better than the other guy, but more than that, it's about being the best at that particular time. Avery said that it's not a secret how any player gets better and can find himself in the position that Cleveland finds himself now. It's about doing what it takes, whatever that may be. "It's all hard work and dedication. That's all it is. You have to want it more than anyone else. You have to have a big heart and that's what I got."