football-fbs flag

Logan Lowery | Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal | September 14, 2017

Tolando Cleveland is on a roll after missing an entire season

  Tolando Cleveland has made the most of his return to the field, with two interceptions in two games.

STARKVILLE — Tolando Cleveland's career was cruising right along, playing in 38 straight games since his true freshman year at Mississippi State.

That streak was ended last year during the final week of training camp when Cleveland tore his left anterior cruciate ligament and would miss the remainder of the season.

However, the time away from the game helped put things in perspective for Cleveland and taught him to cherish every moment of being healthy.

"There's just certain things that you kind of take for granted, even things like practice, treatment and workouts," Cleveland said. "Then when something bad happens like an injury, you don't take things like that for granted anymore. Every chance you get, every opportunity you make the most of it."

College football rankings: Oklahoma, USC rise; Ohio State drops in new AP Poll

The 6-foot, 194-pounder has returned to the secondary this season and started both games at cornerback. He has made a dozen starts in his career while racking up 83 tackles, seven for loss, 1.5 sacks, two interceptions, three forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and 11 pass break-ups.

As a team captain and one of the Bulldogs' most experienced players, Cleveland is constantly passing along his knowledge and providing leadership to his teammates.

"You know the mindset you have to have and what to tell guys," Cleveland said. "Even in the last game when (Louisiana Tech) got out to a little lead on us, we had to remain positive, true to who we are and trust our identity. Having that experience under my belt, I'm able to relate that to the guys and keep their minds where they need to be."

Cleveland has seen a complete change in his defense this year under new defensive coordinator Todd Grantham. MSU is currently rated the Southeastern Conference's top pass defense and third overall defense.

"We like to motto ourselves as being fast, physical and aggressive," Cleveland said. "I think that's what we've been doing these past two games. We've got to keep our foot on the pedal and make progress so we can keep that identity of being fast, physical and aggressive."

MORE: Colleges most represented on 2017 NFL Opening Day rosters

Now with a second shot at his senior year, Cleveland is trying to take full advantage of his opportunity.

"I just want to make the most out of this year and help this team win games and end on the right note," Cleveland said.

The native of Powder Springs, Georgia is set to graduate in December with a degree in political science and has aspirations of becoming a criminal defense attorney someday.

This article is written by Logan Lowery from Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, Tupelo and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

College baseball rankings: All-SEC top 5 holds steady in latest poll

The all-SEC top five remained the same in the D1Baseball Top 25 rankings. Arkansas held firm at No. 1 after winning a road series at Louisiana Tech, despite taking its first loss of the season on Sunday.
READ MORE

2021 SEC softball preview: LSU headlines star-powered conference

LSU softball is the headliner in the SEC, while Florida, Alabama and others are hot on their heels.
READ MORE

Basketball Hall of Fame and WBCA narrow watchlist for 2021 Nancy Lieberman Award

The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association announced the Top 10 candidates for the 2021 Nancy Lieberman Award on Monday, Feb. 1.
READ MORE

Subscribe To Email Updates

Enter your information to receive emails about offers, promotions from NCAA.com and our partners