Creek’s Middleton inks with Arkansas-Monticello

Cedar Creek’s Caden Middleton will continue his football career at the University of Arkansas-Monticello. (Courtesy Photo)

by Malcolm Butler

For Caden Middleton, it came down to a life-long relationship.

The Cedar Creek quarterback signed a national letter of intent Wednesday to play football at Arkansas-Monticello.

When asked why he chose UAM over three other offers which included Louisiana College, Southern Arkansas and Cumberland College, Caden said comfort level.

“My dad used to coach there,” said Caden. “Hud Jackson is the same head coach there now that my dad worked for back then. I love (Coach Jackson), and he is a great coach and an even better man. I wanted to learn from him. It was a family thing. That is what it came down to … having the family aspect on the college level.”

Caden’s father and Cedar Creek head coach Matt Middleton worked alongside Hud Jackson at Central Arkansas from 2008 to 2010 and then for Jackson from 2011 through 2013 when Jackson became the head coach at UAM.

“I think he is extremely comfortable with him,” said Matt. “He has watched Caden grown up and he has a relationship with him where he can be his dad if he needs to. It’s just a relationship that has developed over a lot of years. He has been active in recruiting Caden and tutoring him at times. I think it just came down to a comfort level for playing for Coach Jackson as to the other opportunities he had. It’s definitely a relationship thing. He is comfortable with the school and the town so that’s a really good thing.”

Caden, the 6-foot-3-inch, 210-pounder, started the past two years at Cedar Creek and helped lead the Cougars to back-to-back playoff appearances. The two-time all-Lincoln Parish Journal honoree set the Cougars single season and career TD passing marks during his two years.

He said Wednesday morning’s accomplishment was an important moment in his life.

“This morning meant everything to me,” said Caden. “It’s the culmination of all the hard work I put in high school year. I didn’t play football heavily until middle school. Ever since I found football in middle school, it’s been my goal to play in college. It was a big deal and was very excited.”

His father agreed.

“It was really cool,” said Matt of the signing. “I have seen him play since he was little. I think it’s always something he has wanted to do. I never had to tell him to go watch film or study. He wants to be a coach one day. He is built in that mode. It just shows that no matter what you want, if you work and believe in yourself and set goals and the good Lord allows you, then you can come away with some great opportunities.”

Caden passed for 1,605 yards and 20 TDs in 2022 while rushing for another three scores. He said he feels he will be given a chance to continue to play quarterback, but is ready for whatever opportunity presents itself at the college level.

“Right now that is the plan, but whatever he needs me to do, I will do,” said Caden. “But right now the plan is to go play quarterback.”

“They signed him as quarterback,” said Matt. “I think the biggest thing for him is he has to mature physically. It will be good for him to get on campus. How soon he plays will depend on his productivity. It would probably be good if he could red-shirt if that’s a possibility. I don’t see him playing early because he has to develop. He is extremely smart. He wants to be a coach. He has great intuition, but he has to go earn it.”