By Owen Gotimer
Viva Loudoun College Editor
(May 19, 2014) – Tuscarora High School senior Josh Middleton has committed to continue his football career under head coach Marty Favret at Hampden-Sydney College beginning in the 2014-2015 academic year.
“My father and mother preach about being committed and responsible all the time. So being committed to college is just that,” said the 6-foot-1, 170-pound Middleton. “I know I will have be committed to my classwork. I am prepared to do that and play football.”
Middleton – who thought his collegiate athletic career would be on a basketball court – decided to play football because of the potential opportunities to play more than one position.
“At first my dream was to play college basketball. But in basketball for the most part you are slated for one position, and if you’re not that guy, you will sit for a long time not playing. In football, I can play multiple positions to help my team.”
While at Hampden-Sydney, Middleton will primarily play cornerback but will also get the opportunity to return kickoffs and punts for coach Favret who in 14 seasons with the Division III Tigers has collected a 104-42 record.
In 2013, Favret – and Loudoun Valley High School graduates Tyler Ikwild, Chris Regan, Nick Martin, Kristopher Hottenstein and Joey Druhan and Heritage High School graduate Joey Partin – compiled a 9-3 record including a 6-1 mark in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference before falling, 31-21, to Linfield College in the second round of the NCAA DIII football championship on Nov. 30.
“On the field I know I will bring athleticism and speed to the Tigers. I’m not your average size corner: I am 6-foot-1 and strong for my weight,” Middleton said. “I love to press cover and be physical with the receiver. I also can return punts and kickoffs. My speed is deceptive because I have a long stride.”
Tigers’ defensive coordinator Wes Dodson would disagree with Middleton and noted that the cornerback’s speed was the first thing he noticed. Thankfully for Middleton, Dodson let him know that.
“Coach Dodson stayed in contact with me. He didn’t just talk about the football part but he touched on education, responsibility and future goals,” Middleton said. “They have an honor code that cannot be broken. The class sizes are very small and personal. This will allow me get the help from the professor, if needed, allowing me to excel on and off the field.”
The small class sizes can be credited to the fact that the school has just over 1,000 enrolled undergraduates: each and every one of them, a male.
“At first when I heard that it was an all-male school my reaction was ‘this is not the place for me,’” Middleton said. “I spoke with my parents, and they advised me to take a visit and then make a decision. While on my visit I met all the coaches as well as the players. It was like one big family.”
While the Tigers will be his new family, Middleton will travel nearly 150-miles south away from his family back home in Leesburg. Throughout his years at Tuscarora, Middleton stood out on the football field and basketball court and credits Huskies’ assistant coach Adam Fortune for his continued success.
“Playing football for coach Michael Burnett and his staff was a life learning experience. When you have coaches like Adam Fortune you can’t do anything but succeed,” Middleton reminisced. “Coach Fortune made sure I was always on my A-game. I didn’t take plays off because I knew that Fortune was always watching.”
Owen Gotimer is a graduate of Heritage High School in Leesburg and is currently a sophomore at Syracuse University. Follow Owen on Twitter (@BigO_Gotimer) for up-to-date college signings and news. Contact us if you want Owen to do an article on the college commitment of your favorite local athlete or a story on a Loudoun County graduate playing in college!