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July 19, 2014

Recruiting Stunner

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Georgia's 2016 recruiting class got off to a huge start Saturday when two of the nation's best decided they were going to be Bulldogs.

No doubt head coach Mark Richt is pinching himself after both offensive lineman Ben Cleveland and quarterback Jacob Eason tweeted that they had committed to the Bulldogs.

The two are the first two commitments for the Class of 2016.

At 6-foot-7 and 326 pounds, the 15-year-old Cleveland has spent the summer opening numerous eyes.

Prior to the start of last months's Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge, Cleveland and the rest of the participating offensive linemen were going through their warm-ups when one of the coaches paused to ask a question about No. 24 (Cleveland's jersey number at the Rivals Challenge).

When told he was just a rising junior and only 15, one coach at the camp shook his head in disbelief.

"I want to see a birth certificate," he said at the time.

Cleveland - the youngest person in his class at Stephens County - said he gets that a lot.

"Oh, I sure do," he said while in Baltimore. "I've always been bigger than everybody else, but I've kind of grown used to it. It's not as bad as it used to be, that's for sure."

He might not be done growing, either.

"I don't know. The doctor said I've got a little bit more room in my growth plate, but I hope I don't," Cleveland said. "I'd just as soon stop."

Getting Eason's commitment was equally as huge.

The 6-foot-5, 207 pounder joined Cleveland for Friday night's Dawg Night activities and from all appearances loved what he had to see after offensive coordinator Mike Bobo made two trips to his home state of Washington during the recent evaluation period.

"The first time he came to baseball practice and the second time for football practice to watch me throw. He's a real good guy," he said prior to the Five-Star Challenge. "I talk to Coach Richt a lot, too. In fact, they've been the most comfortable to talk with because they talk a lot about other things. They talk about their families, other sports, what's going on with their lives, what's going on with my life. I really enjoy that."

But Eason's Bulldog experience doesn't begin and end with coaches Bobo and Richt.

The rising junior said he also reached out to former quarterback Aaron Murray, to get an idea of what it was like for him to be the quarterback of the Bulldogs.

"I actually called Murray on the phone. He was talking about the coaches and he said Athens was a great place; he didn't want to leave," Eason said. "They've put out a lot of high-quality quarterbacks there as well so that's something I'm looking at, too."

More to come.



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