HERO Sports is counting down the days until the kickoff of the 2018 college football season on Saturday, Aug. 25, by featuring the best player in the FBS at each jersey number, from 99-1. Each day, from May 18 through Aug. 24, we'll publish one article showcasing the best player whose jersey number matches the number of days remaining.
No. 76 Ezra Cleveland
Boise State – OT
Ezra Cleveland was a darn good football player at Bethel High School in Spanaway, Wash., about 50 miles south of Seattle, but he never expected to be a standout player in college. He never even expected to play college football.
"When I was in high school, I never thought I was going to play college football," Cleveland said in April. "But I got that first offer and started working. I played last year and it was unbelievable."
He was offered by Washington State as a junior in April 2015 and Boise State a month later. He accepted the latter and, following a redshirt season, the bulked-up Cleveland (6-foot-6, 315 pounds) was one of few starting freshmen left tackles in the country. And barring a shocking and unfortunate development, he'll be a multi-year starter at left tackle for the Broncos, the last five of whom were drafted.
“High, high,” offensive line coach Brad Bedell said of Cleveland's ceiling. “As we get through and he ages, he’s going to become a lot more technically sound. He’s getting bigger. He’s extremely athletic. He’s just a guy that consistently I’m on all the time and he knows that. When he’s technically sound, he’s really, really good.”