Middleton Follows Familiar Route

Like his teammates before him, Long Beach (Calif.) Poly cornerback Lazarri Middleton has had to remain patient in his recruitment, and it's starting to pay off...

Long Beach (Calif.) Poly cornerback Lazarri Middleton (6-1, 185) and former Poly safety Herman Davidson, now at North Carolina, talk often.

Davidson can relate to Middleton's recruitment, once being stuck behind a senior-laden secondary as a junior and having to wait until his senior season to make a name for himself and, more importantly, catch the eye of college coaches.

And much like Davidson did as a senior, going from a reserve as a junior Middleton is making a strong statement, elevating himself to four-star safety prospect.

"It (recruiting in his senior year) started off really slow, but Herman just told me not to worry, that it would all work out once you get the chance to show what you could do," said Middleton.

Middleton now owns three scholarship offers, and several more schools are doing their own homework on Middleton, and he's hoping they come through with offers, too.

"SMU was the first school to offer me, then Idaho State, then came Nebraska," said Middleton. "I was real excited when the first offer came and then when Nebraska offered, they've always been a real good team."

This weekend, Middleton will take his first official visit, going to SMU, then in January he'll visit Nebraska officially.

In the meantime, he's continuing to talk with several schools, including UCLA.

"I know Texas A&M, UCLA and Oklahoma State have all been talking with me lately and they're really interested in me," said Middleton. "I've been going to almost all of UCLA's home games and Coach (Reggie) Moore and Coach (DeWayne) Walker said they just want to see me a little more and then they'll probably offer."

Middleton said that his top five includes Nebraska, SMU, Texas A&M, Texas and UCLA.

He said: "I just want to go somewhere and play, to be honest. Last year, I was supposed to be the starter, but an injury held me back and the seniors stepped up. So I had to wait my turn and I'm just doing what I can on the field to help us win a championship. So I just want to play in college and keep my options open."

Middleton said that, while he's enjoyed the recruiting process, his main focus has been on a repeat title in the Pac-5, where the Jackrabbits are the top-seed and face Lakewood this weekend. Two more wins, and they'll be in the state championship game.

"I don't really focus on the recruiting right now because, for me, playoffs are a big thing," said Middleton. "Poly is a nice place to have won a lot titles, but we've never won a state championship or national championship. We've been rated #1 in the nation but never at the end, so that's our priority."

Through 12 games, Middleton has been a standout in a stellar secondary, recording 44 tackles and an interception.

Academically, he has a 2.7 GPA and scored a 1570 on the SAT.

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