By LARRY VAUGHT
He always liked Kentucky, but South Warren defensive lineman Adrian Middleton had a little extra motivation for making his commitment to UK Saturday — he didn’t want coach Mark Stoops to run out of scholarships. The 6-4, 275-pound Middleton became the 18th player in the 2014 class to verbally commit when he told Stoops Saturday that he wanted to play for the Wildcats.
“I just wanted to focus on my senior season and wanted recruiting out of the way,” said Middleton, a three-star prospect and the first Division I commit from his school since it opened three years ago. “I knew UK might be running out of scholarships. They are bringing in a lot of great recruits. Since UK was always No. 1 with me, I wanted to commit before they would run out.”
He went to camp at UK last week and said it only “confirmed” what he thought about the school and coaching staff.
“The coaches sounded very pleased when I committed,” Middleton said. “Coach Stoops was very happy and said he really wanted me to commit. (Offensive coordinator) Neal Brown was really happy, too. The reaction here has been great. My Twitter is kind of blowing up.”
Middleton is UK’s seventh commit in the last week. He chose Kentucky over Louisville, Indiana, Missouri, Western Kentucky and Middle Tennessee. Middleton and Conner quarterback Drew Barker are the only two in-state players in UK’s 2014 recruiting class, but John Hardin defensive lineman Matt Elam remains a priority recruit and has UK in his final five along with Alabama, Ohio State, Notre Dame and Louisville.
Middleton says committing to UK will change his summer plans “a little bit” as he turns his focus to his high school senior season.
“I don’t plan on going to any more camps or anything. My recruiting is over,” the defensive lineman said.
He’s still a bit surprised the way his stock has soared since his season ended.
“All this came out of nowhere. I did not really think I was all that good,” he said. “I guess it was my highlight film or something that changed this. I just feel lucky.”
He said it was a “big deal” to be the first Division I commit from South Warren.
“(Defensive coordinator) Brandon Smith has done a lot of work sending out films to help me. I appreciate that because it paid off,” Middleton said.