Ben Cleveland is ready for one more ride with the Georgia football team. Look for those size-17 cleats to still be in action at Sanford Stadium this fall.
DawgNation has learned via his father that the rising redshirt senior is enrolled in classes for this semester and is only a few hours away from a degree in sociology at UGA. Derek Cleveland also said that the plan is for his son to finish his degree and continue on as a member of the team this fall.
What’s most important to the young man known as “Big Country” to a lot of folks? That would be that degree followed by leaving UGA on a strong and a positive note. He’s worked too hard not to do so, his father said.
That will make sure that Georgia’s first man off the bus, so to speak, still cuts a very impressive physical figure. The 6-foot-6, 335-pound offensive guard missed the Sugar Bowl due to what has been described as an academic issue during his fall semester.
Ben Cleveland: Help offset the attrition along the O-line
Cleveland’s return will now add another potential starting option with good SEC experience for first-year line coach Matt Luke. Luke’s room has certainly been in flux of late.
Solomon Kindley, Andrew Thomas and Isaiah Wilson all opted to leave for the NFL this month even though they had eligibility remaining. Cade Mays also chose to leave UGA via the transfer portal to return to his hometown for play for his father’s alma mater at Tennessee. Mays will be a junior this fall and he will also have the chance to play with his younger brother, Cooper, in Knoxville.
Those moves meant that the Bulldogs have seen an aggregate of 115 games worth of starting experience leave the program after the 2019 season. Kindley (32 games), Mays (18 games) Thomas (41 games) and Wilson (24 games) all would have projected to be starters for 2020 team, too.
Rising junior Trey Hill is the most experienced returning member of the Georgia offensive line. The starting center brings back 18 games of starting experience, including 14 games as a true sophomore in 2019.
Cleveland, a former 5-star OT prospect for 247Sports, does project to have an NFL future one day. That said, he has also been on campus since January of 2016. There was some feeling that his future was in doubt after he missed the Sugar Bowl back on Jan. 1.
The former Stephens County standout (Toccoa, Ga.) reported to campus and even went through the 2016 season at just 17 years of age. But it now appears that he’s not ready to put up that “Power G” helmet just yet.