Kavario Middleton, a former Lakes High School star who appeared to be next in a great line of tight ends for 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 Tuesday – comes 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.
Huskies coach Steve Sarkisian issued no further comment on what Middleton, an 11-game starter last year as a sophomore, had done.
Tamera (Diver) Middleton, Kavario’s mother, declined comment.
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Lakes coach Dave Miller 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 be reinstated to the program.
A source – not Miller – confirmed to The News Tribune that Middleton recently failed a drug test, sealing his fate at UW.
It is a huge fall from grace for Middleton, who was one of the nation’s top tight end recruits 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, wavering focus and conditioning/weight issues.
Middleton had a superb start to last season, catching a season-high five passes for 45 yards and a touchdown in an opening loss to LSU.
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 got the nod over less-experienced Marlion Barnett. Fullback Dorson Boyce also could be moved back to tight end.
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 and Californians Dillon van der Wal of Oaks Christian High and Troy Niklas of Servite High – all consensus top-20 prospects.
Todd Milles: 253-597-8442 firstname.lastname@example.org blog.thenewstribune.com/uwsports