Gamecocks land Peach State TE

South Carolina picked up its third commitment of the 2009 recruiting class on Friday afternoon when Kell (Marietta, GA) standout tight end Will Middleton committed to Coach Shane Beamer and the Gamecocks. Read inside for all the details.

South Carolina coaches Shane Beamer and Ray Rychleski had evaluated Middleton for several weeks before ultimately extending an offer to the Peach State product on Thursday. Middleton, whose sister attends USC, didn't take long to get back to Beamer as he called him up this afternoon to officially give his pledge to the Gamecocks.

Middleton, who had openly favored the Gamecocks for several weeks, discussed what factors stand out to him about the South Carolina program in a recent interview.

"I love the place. I like the coaches, and I like their offense. Their stadium is great, and my sister goes there, too, " said Middleton. "There are a lot of things that I like about the school. It's in the SEC, and I love it." caught up with Middleton's head coach Derek Cook on Friday afternoon, and he talked about what type of player the Gamecocks are getting in his star tight end.

"He's a big kid that's 6'5", 245. He's a real good tight end for us, and we're actually going to split him out some as a true wide receiver too because he runs so well," said Cook. "He's got good hands, and he's hard to tackle by a corner or safety."

According to Cook, Middleton possesses a great frame to grow into on the college level, which, combined with his athleticism, made him very attractive to South Carolina.

"He's exactly what (college coaches) are looking for. You can't make a kid into 6'5", 245. He's got good size, and he's just a big, athletic kid. He's got the frame to be 275 within a year or two."

Cook also said that the Gamecocks are getting a first class individual off the field in Middleton.

"He's a good kid. He's got great character, and he's a hard worker. He's doing the right things, and he's a leader for our team. He'll do the same for South Carolina."

Middleton, who totaled 25 catches for 350 yards and two receiving touchdowns in his junior season, chose South Carolina over an offer from Rutgers, and he was also receiving strong interest from Louisville, West Virginia, Maryland, Mississippi State, and Central Florida. He becomes USC's third commitment in the 2009 recruiting class.

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