MURFREESBORO – Jordan Middleton grew up around the game of football.
He was on the sidelines for years at Smyrna High as a young boy, even put on a Smyrna uniform and run out with the team when his dad Shawn Middleton was an assistant for former coach Philip Shadowens.
However, he never started playing the sport until his eighth-grade year at Siegel Middle.
“That was my first year playing football ever,” Middleton said. “My dad always coached it. I’ve kind of been around the game my whole life.
“Our middle school coach saw me playing baseball, and he was like, ‘Come play quarterback for us this year.’ I tried it, and I loved it.”
The Siegel High senior has been a quick study. Middleton will begin his second season as a starting quarterback at 7 p.m. Thursday at Ravenwood.
“He has earned the right to be the guy,” Siegel coach Greg Wyant said. “Last year he won the job.
“He improved incredibly. He put on 20 pounds. He looks like a quarterback now.”
Siegel missed the playoffs in 2014, finishing 3-7. The Stars are guaranteed a playoff berth in 2015 after the TSSAA’s reclassification that placed the schools with the top 31 enrollments plus Maryville in Class 6A. Everyone in 6A is guaranteed a playoff spot.
Middleton, who also plays baseball for the Stars, completed 110-of-196 passes for 1,382 yards in 10 games a year ago. His passing yardage leads all Rutherford county returning starters. He also had 10 touchdown passes with 11 interceptions.
“I’ve learned a lot since I started playing,” Middleton said. “I’ve learned my reads and just game management.
“I know my football IQ is very high. I kind of just know the game more than most people know it.”
He also rushed for 525 yards on 121 carries with five running touchdowns.
However, at times Middleton took hard hits trying to pick up yards on the ground.
“Usually linemen help you up,” he said. “Our offense is so fast, you can’t just lay there. Sometimes you just want to lay there.
“But there is always someone there to pick you up. As a quarterback you want to lead the team. If someone sees you taking a beating, they will play harder for you.”
However, Siegel’s coaching staff is trying to get him to take fewer big hits this year.
“He knows how to run,” Wyant said. “I think he’ll try and limit his hits, but I don’t know if he knows how to get down just yet. But we want to limit the hits he takes.”
Reach Tom Kreager at 615-278-5168 and on Twitter @Kreager.
Week 1 Schedule
(All games at 7 p.m. unless noted)
Siegel at Ravenwood*
Riverdale at Ooltewah, 6 p.m. (CST)
John Overton at Stewarts Creek*
Smyrna at La Vergne**
Lewis Co. at Eagleville
Cannon Co. at Community
Ezell-Harding at MTCS
Lancaster Chr. at Monroe Acad., Ala., 7:30 p.m.
Clay-Chalkville (Ala.) vs. Blackman at MTSU, 4 p.m.*
Hoover (Ala.) vs. Oakland at MTSU, 7 p.m.*