Scott Porter: What is the hardest part about playing college football?
Ben Cleveland: You have so many responsibilities at the tight end position. I have always felt that besides quarterback, it is the next position where you have to know the most and you’re heavily involved in every play. You have to run routes, block, catch, the entire package. If you’re not running a route, your block is very important on every play because you are always part of the play. If you don’t make your block it will cost you and if you don’t run the right route it will cost you. You have to be versatile and you cannot take any play off.
Scott Porter: What are your biggest strengths?
Ben Cleveland: My biggest strengths are doing different things such as blocking and catching as well as the mental aspect of the game. Bobby Petrino has us mentally prepared for each and every game and that has really helped me. One of my biggest strengths is also my football intelligence.
Scott Porter: What are your goals for the NFL?
Ben Cleveland: First, I want to make a team, and once I get there be an elite TE like any player would want. Contribute in any way possible and help my team win.
Scott Porter: What will you miss most about college football at Arkansas?
Ben Cleveland: I will miss the atmosphere a lot. The people in Arkansas love football, all they have sports wise is college football and basketball. It means a lot to them. I will miss the coaching staff and my teammates. The band of brothers and bonds I have created here. We have accomplished a lot together.
Scott Porter: Is there an NFL player that reminds you of yourself or one you like to watch?
Ben Cleveland: There are a lot of good tight ends in the NFL right now. I always like Jason Witten because I love watching the Cowboys and our coach gets a lot of tape on him for me to watch. Dallas Clark and Tony Gonzalez are two others I enjoy watching and picking up things from. It’s a blessing to be able to watch those guys. I love how Gonzalez handles himself. There are a lot of tight ends right now who I like to watch in different systems and learn from in the NFL.
Scott Porter: What are your biggest accomplishments while playing football at Arkansas?
Ben Cleveland: Individually, staying focused throughout my entire career. I was All-SEC as a freshman. Then I got hurt and things didn’t go my way for awhile. I stayed mentally tough and positive and never gave up on myself. As a team, being up on Alabama by 14 this year. That was a turning point to the Arkansas program and gave us a lot of confidence for the rest of the season.
Scott Porter: What hobbies do you have off the field?
Ben Cleveland: Hanging out with the guys. Cooking on the grill or on the stove. Going back to the community and watching kids play football, letting them know that they do have a chance to follow their dreams. I like to go back and give back to these kids to let them know people do care for them.
Scott Porter: What will be the hardest transition from the college level to the NFL level?
Ben Cleveland: Learning all the new terminology, and picking up the speed of the freak athletes will be a few of the hardest adjustments to make coming in as a rookie.
Scott Porter: Who has been your biggest influence?
Ben Cleveland: My dad and my grandma. My grandma has been through a lot and she has been my inspiration. I saw her fight cancer and she is always smiling. I see how they handle situations and learn from them. God does great things and they are prime examples of it.