Middleton got his offer from the Pirates early on in his high school career. It came as a shock to him.
"It was defensive coordinator Brian Mitchell who's now at West Virginia," Middleton said. "It was the end of sophomore year and they (ECU) were my first offer. I was amazed, my coach called me to the office and told me that I got the offer and I thought he was messing with me. I had to ask him twice, but I went ballistic when I finally realized he wasn't kidding. It was a great experience."
The Pirates have as good reputation with Middleton, he also knows more than one player on the team.
"I've heard a lot of great things," he said. "My former teammate (running back) Chris Hairston and a former guy I played against from East Forsyth (OL) Brandon Smith just went there. I also know (DB) Josh Hawkins, so I am excited to get to know more of the ECU family. I am going to go see the medical program there soon."
As far as visiting campus, Middleton said he is going to have a busy June. He is trying to make a trip out to the Pirate Nation in early July.
Middleton is being highly recruited by N.C. State; he's basically a regular there. While he is keeping his options open, the Wolfpack are leading in his interest.
"I have been up there a lot," Middleton said. "I'm very impressed with how much different it is since my brother was recruited by them. The coaches have made a great impact, they make you feel welcome and really go above and beyond. I'm not going to lie; they're in the lead for me. I feel the whole staff there has the program going in the right direction, but I have a while to make my decision and my future visits could change that."
Picking a school with good academics is a big deal for Middleton. He's looking to get involved in the medical field one day.
"Academics have always been a big part of my life," Middleton said. "I want to be a pediatrician one day so schools with good medical programs really stand out to me. The coaching staff is another big deal for me. I want a staff that will not only make me a better football player, but a better man. Winning is also very important."
Middleton plans on going out with a bang and showing out his senior year. He's hard at work preparing for the upcoming season.
"My goals are working on physicality, hands and my conditioning," Middleton said. "Senior year is all I have left in high school so my main purpose is to be a leader. I told my team we need to be one team and our one goal is the state championship. Personally I am looking to lead in sacks and forced fumbles for my team and in the state. I want to make All-American game and the Shrine Bowl too."
The summer of 2013 is going to be filled with visits for Middleton.
"I plan to visit Ohio State, Maryland and possibly Boston College," he said. "Auburn has been talking with me so I may make it down there at some point. I know I will be out at N.C. State, ECU and Carolina for sure."
Despite going on all of these out-of-state visits, Middleton thinks staying in-state for school is something he'd prefer.
"I'm not going to lie I'm a momma's boy," Middleton said. "Staying in-state is big to me. If I have to make the decision to leave that's what I‘ll do, but right now in-state is looking the best route for me. I have a brother at Appalachian (State) and don't want to make it too hard on my family."
Previously, Middleton told Scout Georgia Tech, Duke, N.C. State and Vanderbilt were his top four. He has changed his mind a bit after more schools have showed interest, ECU is in the mix for Middleton.
"N.C. State is number one for me right now," he said. "Duke and Vanderbilt are up there, but not as high up in the list. Schools that are on the rise for me are Ohio State, Carolina, Wake Forest and Hampton. ECU is where a lot of my schools are right now, they're in the mix but aren't in my top group. With that being said, I'm definitely going to take the time to check them (ECU) out because they have a great program. I'm going to make see if my coach and mom want to go out there with me sometime soon."
Early enrollment is not something Middleton plans on doing. This summer's visits are going to be crucial for him to make up his mind and he could make a decision in the middle of the fall.
"I am not going to early enroll because I want experience my senior year," Middleton said. "I am hoping to have my top list of schools done by the end of summer and I'll most likely make my decision by the middle of the football season."
Last season Middleton had 45 tackles, 15 sacks and three forced fumbles on defense. On offense he had 10 pancake blocks; his performance made him a first-team All-Piedmont Triad Conference selection. He would be a big-body defensive lineman for ECU and could help in stopping the run.
His offers include Appalachian State, Clemson, Duke, Elon, N.C. State, Old Dominion, Citadel, Wake Forest and now ECU.