Already picking up early interest during his junior season is 2017 Ashley Ridge linebacker Malik Middleton. Having visited a pair of ACC schools so far we caught up with the playmaker from the Lowcountry regarding his recruitment and more. A well-rounded student-athlete Middleton has a good blend of size and speed at 6'1 210 pounds and having clocked a 4.52 second 40 yard dash time.
"Most college coaches are recruiting me at linebacker or wide receiver. So far this season I've got 63 tackles (43 solo), 5 sacks, 8 tackles for loss, 12 quarterback hurries, 2 forced fumbles, 1 interception, and 13 pass deflections. We've had a great season so far, we are currently 8-0. And 2-0 in region play."
As we mentioned earlier Middleton has already taken a pair of visits to ACC schools and he broke things down concerning those visits and more.
"My visit to Duke was a great experience, and I'm honored to had the opportunity to visit. They showed me their sports and academic facilities. I also got to see their locker room and meet a lot of their players including Jeremy Cash which is one of my favorite players to watch. My favorite part of the visit was definitely having the opportunity to go into the locker room with the team after the game, it was a very exciting environement. The coaches made me feel like I've known them for a while already. They have been following me since my freshman year and have given me good advice."
Middleton elaborated on his interest in Duke's program as a whole.
"Yes because Duke is really known for their academic achievements. Which is of most importance to me. But now that their football program is on the rise to becoming one of the best, it makes the experience even better."
The 2017 prospect made another ACC visit with in-state Clemson and he talked about his time in Death Valley with the Tigers.
"My visit to Clemson was also a great experience. Their family environment made me feel welcomed. I was able to experience the Tiger Walk, and meet Ben Boulware which is another one of my favorite players to watch. Also Mr. Jeff Davis spoke the truth and established what Clemson is truly about, which is winning on and off the field. What I liked best was the hospitality of the coaches and staff. It's a really welcoming environment and they make you feel like you're apart of the family already. I attended their camp this past summer where I got to meet coach Venables who is an amazing coach that only gets the best out of his players. So getting to see him again was also great. The coaches told me that they were happy to have me there and they have been watching my games. They also told me to continue doing well on the field and in school."
The 6'1 210 prospect says he's also been hearing from UCLA, California (Berkley), Columbia, Charlotte, and Methodist University.
He broke down the factors that he'll be looking at when it comes time to choose a college.
"Definitely what the school can offer me academically. Since I plan on majoring in engineering , I want to make sure that my experience in school is equal with my experience on the field. Also the environment of the school, do the coaches care about you being successful on and off the field, are there opportunities set up for me to get help when needed and can the team work together to achieve goals we set out for."
As for his skills on the field we asked Middleton to break down his current strengths and the areas he'd like to improve the most moving forward.
"I feel like I'm strongest at tackling in space and being able to control my speed when blitzing. I've also been doing a good job at controlling receivers in pass coverage. Well I'm never satisfied and I believe in constant development and improvement. Pushing myself even further both on the field and in the classroom. But the area I'd like to improve on the most is my pass coverage technique."
We asked Middleton to compare his game to one player and he had an interesting response.
"If I had to compare my game to one player I would say Terrell Suggs. Because of the intensity that he plays with, the way he leads, how hard he pushes himself and his teammates every day to get better. And also how he takes care of his family and gives back to the community."
Last season as a sophomore Middleton lead Ashley Ridge in sacks, forced fumbles, tackles for loss, quarterback hurries, and sack yards. His play earned him Stats MVP for his team.
Academics are another strong area for Middleton and he talked about some of his accomplishments thus far in his high school career.
"I've been taking honors classes since freshman year. And I'm currently apart of a Dual Credit engineering program through ECPI University, where I will earn four certifications in networking when I graduate. Also I have over 93 hours in community service and I'm currently on track to earn my eagle rank by next year."
We'll continue to keep you up to date regarding Malik Middleton's recruitment as we expect things to continue on an upward trend for him. For now check out some of his testing measurables from the weight room below and find out how to follow us on Twitter.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS...MALIK MIDDLETON
Bench press: 290 pounds
Squat: 435 pounds
Power clean: 265 pounds
Fastest 40 time: 4.52 seconds
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