"When I signed, it felt really good to be a part of the Pack," said Middleton. "Throughout all the recruiting trips and talks with coaches... it was a big lift off my back once I signed and it was official. That was a great accomplishment for me."
Middleton, a 6-foot-1, 300-pounder, played only 4.5 games as a senior due to a knee injury, but he still managed to total 30 tackles and six sacks. He finished with 45 tackles, 15 sacks and three forced fumbles as a junior.
"He is healthy now and plays basketball," said Dave Doeren on Signing Day. "A big guy... 300-pound defensive tackle.
"He's also an Eagle Scout and has tremendous character and leadership... a presence about him. He's another guy that lights up the room, and he built a tremendous relationship with Coach White and Coach Nielsen early in the process. It was really fun getting to know his mother through the process... his dad, just great people."
Middleton was a frequent visitor at NC State during spring practices, as he was able to watch defensive line coach Ryan Nielsen in action.
"It was eye-opening," said Middleton. "Coach Nielsen is definitely one of the best in the game, and I know he's going to mold me into something great. Being around the early enrollees and the veterans, it was great to see them and ask them questions about what all I can do to be ready.
Middleton also saw a need. NC State lost three defensive tackles from the 2013 squad and had just five scholarship tackles participating in spring practice.
"Coach Nielsen tells me all the time to come in ready to work and ready to earn my spot," he said. "He said they are looking for me to play this year, and I'm looking to do that too. I want to go in there with an open mind and listen.
"I know that B.J. [Hill] is already up there, and Monty [Nelson] is up there so I'm going to have to come in ready to work hard if I want to play."
"Those two, we honestly talk about every other weekend," he stated. "I entered my recruitment with Kentavius. We met down at the All-American combine and ever since then we talked and stayed in contact. With us playing defensive line it's always been a competition and I know we're going to continue to push each other.
"I met Big T. at the Central Michigan game. We talked a couple of times before that, but we instantly clicked. He's already at State so when I go up there we always talk and hang out. I can't wait to get up there with him and all the the guys."
Middleton heads to NC State on June 22nd and will enroll in summer school.
"I'm really pumped up about it," said Middleton. "I honestly can't wait, but at the same time it's a little bittersweet with high school graduation coming up.
"I'm a little anxious and nervous, but I'm ready to enter this brotherhood."