"N.C. State is on top," said Middleton. "No one has outdone them so far. Duke is second, West Virginia is third and Wake Forest is fourth."
Middleton explained why the Wolfpack are No. 1 on his list.
"It's just the simple fact that they were one of the first schools to recruit me," said the 6-foot-2, 295-pound Middleton. "With N.C. State, I've just been up there so much and I started to fall in love with the campus."
"Also, Coach (Dave) Doeren, Coach (Ryan) Nielsen, Coach (Clayton) White and all the coaches have a lot of enthusiasm."
Although the N.C. State is his leader, Middleton insists that his recruitment is far from over and that the other schools also appeal to him.
Duke: "I definitely love the defensive line coach (Rick Petri)," Middleton said. "He's sent a lot of guys to the NFL. They also have a great medical program."
West Virginia: "They haven't offered yet. But I think one is coming because Coach (Brian) Mitchell (cornerbacks coach) offered me when he was the defensive coordinator at ECU. He told me that they are waiting on a guy and if he doesn't commit to them, the offer goes to me."
Wake Forest: "They're the hometown school. Me and Coach Ray (McCartney), the defensive line coach, we have a good relationship. I'm probably going to visit them in the next few weeks."
Middleton said he is also still considering Ohio State, Tennessee and Vanderbilt.
As for the summer, Middleton will be busy.
"I'm going to visit all of those schools during the summertime – and see what I like and don't like," he said.
He knows when he will make his decision.
"I plan on making my decision at the end of the summer before my senior season, so I can just focus on football this fall," Middleton said.
Last season, Middleton finished with 45 tackles, 15 sacks and three forced fumbles on defense. On offense, he had 10 pancake blocks. He was a first-team All-Piedmont Triad Conference selection.