Greeting from Safeco Field. Todd isn't near a computer or an internet connection at the moment, but wanted me to post the news that's been circulating all over the Twittersphere and sports talk radio that tight end and local product Kavario Middleton has been dismissed from the Huskies football team.
Here's an updated story by Todd:
Kavario Middleton, the former Lakes High star who appeared to be next in a great line of tight ends at the University of Washington football program, was dismissed for a violation of team rules.
The announcement – in an abrupt and brief statement issued by the school on Tuesday – comes just two weeks before the UW opens fall camp where Middleton would have been the No. 2 tight end behind Chris Izbicki, who supplanted him during spring ball.
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Huskies coach Steve Sarkisian issued no further comment explaining what Middleton, an 11-game starter last year as a sophomore, had done.
Tamera (Diver) Middleton – Kavario's mother – declined comment.
Dave Miller, the Lakes coach, declined to elaborate on Middleton's off-the-field issues, saying only they were ongoing.
"Kavario decided to continue to make poor choices," Miller said. "I'm very supportive of the actions Sark(isian) took to try and get through to him – to help him figure it out and get help.
"At this point, Sark had no choice but to go forward."
Miller said UW coaches told Middleton of their decision over the weekend, and have informed him that there is "zero" chance he would ever be reinstated to the program.
This is a huge fall from grace for Middleton, who was arguably the nation's top tight end recruit in 2008, and ended up playing in all 12 games for the winless Huskies that fall under former coach Tyrone Willingham.
Blessed with tantalizing talent to go along with a 6-foot-5, 255-pound frame, Middleton often frustrated staff, particularly Sarkisian, with his lack of attention to detail, and wavering focus.
Middleton had a superb start to last season, catching a season-high five passes for 45 yards and a touchdown in the opening loss to Louisiana State. He ended up with 26 catches for 257 yards and three scores.
At the outset of spring ball, Sarkisian announced one of the emphasis was shoring up the run- and pass-blocking of the tight ends. Showing little improvement, Middleton lost his starting spot at the end of camp to Izbicki, who now is the undisputed starter over less-experienced Marlion Barnett. Dorson Boyce also could be moved back to tight end from fullback.
The loss of Middleton assuredly puts a bigger emphasis on recruiting a tight end for the 2011 class, notably Gig Harbor High's Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Oaks Christian High's (Calif) Dillon van der Wal and Servite High's (Calif.) Troy Niklas – all consensus top-20 prospects.