Football players can make huge strides during the off season and that's exactly what Winston-Salem (NC) Parkland defensive tackle Deshaywn Middleton has strived to do over the last few months. Already recognized as one of North Carolina's top defensive tackles for the class of 2014, Middleton is hoping to elevate his stock even more headed into his senior season.
"Basically right now my thing is to get bigger and just work on my hands and make sure my hands get faster. I want to keep working on getting off the ball faster so that's something I've been focused on. I just want to work my way up to being number one so I just need to keep getting bigger."
Middleton has had a chance to make a few visits during the spring and touched on a couple of those.
"Right now with my recruiting I went to Duke and I had a great experience over there. Talking to their defensive line coach was just like talking to my brother so that was great.
"I've been to State a couple of times and like always, I enjoyed myself there. Basically I'm just keeping all my options open right now. I just want to see who's interested in me and go on as many visits as I can."
To date, Middleton has landed offers from NC State, Duke, East Carolina, Elon, Appalachian State and Old Dominion among others. The rising senior has been a regular in Raleigh since the hiring of Dave Doeren and the Wolfpack has left no doubt about their interest in landing Middleton.
"Basically with coach Doeren, coach White and coach Nielsen- just all three of them have been recruiting me. Actually I've been sitting down and talking with my family about all the times I've been up there. Right now I have a good feeling about it but I'm still working my way up to it to see if it's the right move for me or not. But right now I'm looking at my options because of the fact I've been up there so much and I want to give other schools a chance but I'm feeling good about where I am with them right now."
So have the coaches pushed for a commitment?
"They basically want me to go ahead and commit so some other players can also jump on board. But sitting down and talking to my family, I just don't want to jump in and rush it. So I plan to take some visits and if I feel comfortable with them then I'll make that choice."
Clearly State is one of the major players to land Middleton but he has a couple of additional programs he ranks highly as well.
"Right now, I visited Georgia Tech, Duke and NC State so they are my top three favorites."
Middleton (6-1, 300 pounds) is rated a three-star prospect by Scout.com.