South Warren’s Adrian Middleton signs with Kentucky; Joel Iyiegbuniwe inks with WKU

South Warren defensive lineman Adrian Middleton and linebacker Joel Iyiegbuniwe officially signed with Kentucky and Western Kentucky, respectively, during a joint ceremony Wednesday at SWHS.

Here are their comments:

JOEL IYIEGBUNIWE

On signing: “It feels good, man. Finally getting the paperwork done and finally officially being welcome to the Western family is a great family.”

South Warren linebacker Joel Iyiegbuniwe signed with Western Kentucky on Wednesday.

South Warren linebacker Joel Iyiegbuniwe signed with Western Kentucky on Wednesday.

His recruitment: “It started back in spring of last year. It hit me real fast, but it was fun, going to camps over the summer and visits and junior days. That was all great. I learned a lot, and I’m going to use that as I continue to play football and live life.”

WKU’s recruiting class: “It’s great. I’m so familiar with a lot of guys – Nacarius, guys from Northern Kentucky. Ryan Duvall from Apollo. I think it’s great for Western and great for Bowling Green. The players are very familiar with each other.”

Role at WKU: “Right now, linebacker is definitely the first. I’ve told them I’ve played safety. Strong safety could be a possibility, but linebacker is probably my spot right now.”

Coming in at WKU: “I’m still learning. I still haven’t peaked yet. All the areas – offensive, defense, my speed. Just knowing tendencies and stuff like that is what I’m really looking to work on.”

Why he almost gave up football early in high school: “In middle school, I played football to get in shape for basketball. After I made the basketball team eighth-grade year, I felt like I accomplished what I was doing. I decided to focus on basketball, and (athletic director Chris) Decker just said, ‘Look, man. We could use you, and we see something in you.’ He was on me, so I came back sophomore year and played. It turned out for the best.”

Injury that cut short his senior season: “The injury was an infection in my pelvic bone. It was a complicated deal. The doctors didn’t know how it happened. I didn’t know how it happened. But now, my body’s great. I’m lifting, I’m running. Everything’s fine.”

Sticking with WKU through coaching change: “You know the saying, ‘You commit to a school, not a coach.’ A lot of guys – me, Nacarius and a lot of us – were staying in touch, and we wanted to stay. We didn’t want to just run off. We wanted to commit to Western. I think it was important for us to stay and show our loyalty to the program.”

ADRIAN MIDDLETON

South Warren defensive lineman Adrian Middleton signed with Kentucky on Wednesday.

South Warren defensive lineman Adrian Middleton signed with Kentucky on Wednesday.

On signing with Kentucky: “It feels good, finally making it official and getting it out the way. Now, I’m ready to get to Lexington and do something.”

On what Stoops said to convince him: “He just said, ‘Be patient. Wait until we get the recruits in, keep working hard and something good will happen.'”

Relationship with the in-state guys: “We have a really good relationship with all the in-state guys. Drew Barker recruited mostly everybody in the class, so we know each other.”

Role he’ll play there: “They said they want to start me out at defensive end, and if I gain more weight, move me inside to three-technique.”

Goals at UK: “I’m trying to start as soon as possible.”

Change around the program: “That was one of the reasons why I went to UK, because of the coaching change and the change in environment around the football program. And the opportunity to play in the SEC, which is a big deal for me.”

Why do recruits gravitate toward Stoops and his staff? “They’re hard workers. They’re working hard, so we have to work hard for them.”

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