West Virginia head coach Neal Brown and company snuck a big — literally — acquisition in late Wednesday night, ending one of the wildest days in college football in recent memory.
WVU picked up a commitment from Tennessee grad transfer defensive lineman Darel Middleton, who picked the Mountaineers over Ole Miss. Middleton (6-foot-7, 300 pounds) started his collegiate career at East Mississippi Community College in 2017 before transferring to Tennessee in 2018 as part of their 2019 class.
After a couple of weeks of thinking and talking things over with family, friends, and mentors that love me and will always be in my corner. I’m finally getting out my own way & just putting my future in god hands & going 1k MPH with my head held high. #KeepGoing #TrustTheClimb🏔 pic.twitter.com/I8KVtm0VZ1
— Darel E. Middleton (@Darel__) July 22, 2021
A physically imposing defensive lineman who played in 22 games with Tennessee, starting 12 games, over the last two seasons, Middleton was a big body that worked across the defensive line in Knoxville. He recorded 43 tackles (20 solo) 3.5 tackles for loss, two sacks, two passes defended and a forced fumble.
With East Mississippi CC, Middleton helped lead his team to the 2018 NJCCA National Championship, racking up 29 tackles and 7.5 tackles for loss. He was a highly-rated junior college commit after the season, a 3-star ranked as the 39th-rated recruit in the cycle. 247Sports’ Greg Biggins gave Middleton a 4-7th round draft grade, with a comparison to Indianapolis Colts’ star DeForest Buckner.
While Middleton didn’t quite live up to that reputation with Tennessee, he will likely be given the opportunity to earn significant playing time on WVU’s defense this season.
A redshirt senior in 2021, Middleton will have one final go-around in college football this season with the Mountaineers.