Trip Report - Kavario Middleton

SEATTLE - The thoughts couldn't escape Kavario Middleton's head as he was watching the Washington Huskies defeat Oregon State in basketball. Yes, he was there on an official visit for football, but Middleton is that rare athlete that is a top performer in both sports. So could it be?

Could the 6-foot-6, 250-pound tight end prospect from Lakes High School play both sports at Washington? It's been talked about.

"Coach (Tyrone) Willingham and Coach (Lorenzo) Romar said that it's up to me, the ball is in my court," Middleton told Sunday. "I just need to see how I adjust to the whole college situation and how I'm doing academically."

But right now, when it comes to the Huskies, his thoughts are about football - even while his Lakes basketball team is currently 13-1 and looking to capture a state title that eluded them in football. "Everyone welcomed me with open arms," he said of his official visit. "I had fun. Jake (Locker) was my host. He's a cool dude. I liked hanging out with him. He's down to earth." Middleton also mentioned Ryan Tolar and a couple of the freshmen as players he met on his visit.

Middleton was the only committed player on an official visit to UW this weekend. As far as he knows, that's the way things finished up too. "I don't try to recruit them," he said of the other prospects on visit. "It's there decision, and I know how much pressure there is for someone going through a situation like that, so I just back off."

Middleton is being asked to come in and play tight end for Washington, starting next fall. "Coach Willingham said that the program is turning around because of all the commitments they've got and it's up to me as to how early I can play," he said, But there's a bit of a problem; Washington doesn't have a tight ends coach right now. Willingham is in the process of filling that spot, as well as two others on his staff. Middleton wasn't concerned.

"I talked to Coach (Tim) Lappano, the offensive coordinator, and he told me that through their progressions the tight end is the first read, so if the tight end is open right away he's getting the ball," he said. "That was quite reassuring."

Middleton rated his visit a 9 out of 10.

It's not the only visit Middleton has made for football this month. At the beginning of January, Middleton, along with teammate Jermaine Kearse, played in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio, Tex. "I was out there a little bit, running around," he said with a chuckle. "It was cool. I had a good time. I got to meet some new friends that I'll be seeing in the Pac-10. I had a fun time out there, playing with the best of the best."

So what was the biggest highlight of that trip for Middleton? "Just being out there, being able to be honored," he said. "That was my highlight." It didn't hurt that teammate Kearse was his roommate for the week. "We just had a good time," he added. "It was a good experience for me."

So now it's just hoops and Signing Day for Middleton, as well as Kearse. Middleton knows that he has a rare opportunity lined up for him if he decides to play both football and basketball at Washington. "It is possible," he said when asked about playing both sports. "Coach Willingham just told me that it's a matter of how much I'm willing to sacrifice. Two Division-1 programs, that's a tough thing to do. It's a matter of how committed I am."

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