Here’s one way to start Signing Day: flip a big time play making wide receiver from his long time favorite.
Big time wide receiver Tyrie Cleveland has decommitted from Houston and committed to Florida. He selected the Gators over his once-leader Houston, Texas Christian and Arkansas. Apparently the decision was a difficult one; he showed up 15 minutes late to his announcement ceremony… because he was still undecided.
No matter. We’ll take him.
The Gators’ need for wide receivers is no secret, as Antonio Callaway can’t possibly do it all by himself. Florida helped address that need with Rick Wells, Joshua Hammond and Freddie Swain, but the lack of depth at that position put Jim McElwain in a position where the more of them he signed, the better. And he may have just gotten the best one of all in Cleveland.
The main thing with Cleveland is that he’s fast. You can’t play him tight, because he’ll fly right by you, and if you give him a cushion, he may still beat you with his 4.35 40 yard dash speed. That’s a scary thought for cornerbacks and defensive coordinators, and so there’s really no good way to play him. His strides are quite long and quite explosive, which when combined with his size makes for a nearly unstoppable deep threat. He can also change directions and speeds on a dime, which makes it even more difficult to cover him. His route running has improved tremendously from his junior to his senior year of high school, and if he keeps at it, he could provide Florida with a second deep threat aside from Callaway.
The one thing he seems to need improvement at is high pointing the football on 50/50 balls. He used his speed and athleticism to get open throughout his high school career, but in the SEC he may find himself unable to do at times. He can run, and he can jump, but this is an instinctual thing that he needs practice at.
But that’s nitpicking. Cleveland is a tremendous grab for Florida. I felt pretty good about their chances to land him after he took his official visit, and so this doesn’t come as a huge surprise. But even though I kind of knew this was coming, I’m ecstatic to add him to the Florida football program. He’s not Antonio Callaway, but with some hard work the next few months he could become just as dangerous.
So that was nice. There’s still a long way to go today, though. So keep on checking our National Signing Day Tracker to follow it all…