You can all but pencil in former Fort Dorchester defensive lineman James Middleton (6-foot-6, 295 pounds) for South Carolina’s 2019 class.
He has not yet officially committed publicly, but Middleton said his plan is to sign in December with the Gamecocks after spending this year at Jones County Junior College (Miss.). He enrolled there in early January.
Fort Dorchester coach Steve LaPrad said Middleton is a supreme talent and has the potential to play in the NFL. Unfortunately for Middleton, he suffered a major leg injury in his team’s last regular season game against Summerville. He went in as an extra offensive lineman on a goal line play and broke his leg in two places.
Middleton thought his career might be over. But it is far from that. Much of his mission at Jones is to successfully rehab his leg, and he said he is on track to do that. The other is to get his grades up so that he can join the Gamecocks.
Never miss a local story.
He had a doctor’s appointment last week and the report on his leg was positive. He broke both the fibula and the tibia of his right leg.
“After I got out of the hospital and started doing rehab and stuff, they came to the school, they talked to me and told me about it, and I went on a visit (December 9th) and they sat down and talked to my mom and we all came to an agreement that this would be the best thing for me to do,” Middleton said.
Middleton said he’s been talking with Will Muschamp and with defensive line coach Lance Thompson and it was their suggestion he go to Jones early and get the work started on his academics and rehab so he’ll only use up one season of eligibility, just as current Gamecock defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw did at the same school.
Middleton said he’s only looking at USC and his visit back in December gave him a good feeling for the program.
“I like their facilities, the training room and how they handle things,” he said.
Last season Middleton totaled 50 tackles with nine tackles for loss and two sacks in 10 games.