He may have been the topic of controversy early on in the recruiting season but in the end, defensive lineman Greg Middleton chose to worry about his needs on the football field first, and who would be upset later.
After breaking a commitment to Purdue in early September, the 6'3", 260-pound Middleton decided to re-open his recruitment and Indiana was not shy about wanting him in Cream and Crimson.
"I was going to have to play defensive tackle at Purdue, and at IU they were going to keep me at defensive end," said Middleton, who plays defensive end at Pike. "That's really where I wanted to play. There isn't much difference between the two schools academically, so that's where I thought I'd be the best fit."
Middleton recorded 89 tackles and nine sacks as a junior and 78 tackles and nine sacks as a senior at Indianapolis Pike High School. He is considered one of the top 10 players in the state according to Scout.com and his commitment was a step in the right direction for the Hoosiers, who are focused on recruiting in-state talent.
While his numbers may have been a little down from his junior year, it was his presence on the field that helped his Red Devil teammates out more than his tackles.
"That was the challenge this year – they didn't really running to my side much – I got a lot of double teams, that kind of stuff," said Middleton. "That's good in a way because it frees up other people to make plays. I guess that's what happens when you're a good player."
Middleton attended IU's summer camp and received a scholarship offer from the Hoosiers over the summer. He said that once he committed to Purdue the IU staff stopped recruiting him, but that changed once he made contact with the Indiana staff.
"I sent them an e-mail and that's when they started recruiting me again," said Middleton, who added that IU was the only program he made contact with after deciding to re-open his recruitment. "I talked to Coach Lynch and told him how I felt."
Middleton will step in as Hoeppner and company try to rebuild both sides of the line to be able to compete in the Big Ten. Middleton knows how important winning at the line of scrimmage is in the Big Ten and he is ready for the challenge.
"I'm pretty excited – I've heard the college life is fun and I'm looking forward to that and getting out on my own," said Middleton. "I'm also excited about playing football and trying to bring the program up. Being a part of the first recruiting class, I feel we can make a difference."
Another challenge will be helping Hoeppner rebuild an Indiana program that has not had a winning season in 11 years.
"No one wants to play for a losing team, and Indiana has had that over their heads for a while," said Middleton. "It's nice to see them starting to turn it around, and I'm excited to be a part of that."
SIGNING DAY 2006 - Greg Middleton
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