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The Florida Gators could use some depth on the defensive line, and Billy Napier is looking to the transfer portal to fill that hole for the upcoming season. The latest name to join the list is former Tennessee and West Virginia defensive lineman Darel Middleton, according to Blake Alderman of 247Sports.
Middleton and Napier have had discussions with each other, and the 6-foot-7-inch, 305-pound lineman plans on meeting the staff in person on June 2 and 3, per Alderman’s report. No offer is on the table just yet, but an in-person visit is sure to speed up that process.
A four-star recruit out of high school, Middleton attended East Mississippi CC in 2017 and 2018 before transferring to Tennessee. He’d start six games and appear in all 13 for the Volunteers in 2019, finishing the season with 28 tackles, two tackles for loss, a sack and a forced fumble. In 2020, he played in nine games and started another six, totaling just 15 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, one sack and two pass breakups.
He decided to transfer to West Virginia last year but wound up playing just three games for the Mountaineers before leaving the team in October to reenter the transfer portal. Reports surfaced at the beginning of the year that Middleton had committed to Alabama A&M, but that no longer appears to be the case. Aside from Florida, Jackson State, Tennessee State and Texas Tech are in the mix. Each will play host to Middleton over the summer.
Four schools in six years can shine a bad light on a player, but Middleton certainly has the talent. Napier has been nothing but a strong judge of character since he stepped onto campus, so bringing him in to meet face-to-face should help him gauge if Middleton is right for the program.
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