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Coaches

Ron Middleton
Tight Ends Coach

Biography

A 10-year NFL veteran as a player, Ron Middleton is entering his fifth season with the Jaguars after being named tight ends/assistant special teams coach on February 7, 2013. Middleton spent the previous five years (2008-12) at Duke, serving as associate head coach and special teams coordinator, while also coaching the tight ends.

A 10-year NFL veteran as a player, Ron Middleton is entering his fifth season with the Jaguars after being named tight ends/assistant special teams coach on February 7, 2013. Middleton spent the previous five years (2008-12) at Duke, serving as associate head coach and special teams coordinator, while also coaching the tight ends.

“We are excited to have Coach Middleton back on our staff in 2017 and know that he will continue to be a great teacher and mentor for our tight ends,” said Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone. “Ron did a ne job with the unit this past year despite some key injuries, and oversaw the development and progression of three of our youngest offensive players.”

In 2016, Middleton’s position group saw five different players appear in at least six games, including three players age 24-or-younger (Alex Ellis – 23; Ben Koyack – 23; Neal Sterling – 24). Koyack led the group with 14 games played, while veteran TE Marcedes Lewis started all 10 games in which he played. Lewis (calf) and Julius Thomas (back) both finished the season on the team’s reserve/injured list.

In 2015, Middleton tutored a veteran group that included the addition of Pro Bowl TE Julius Thomas. Thomas finished third on the team in receptions (46), receiving yards (455) and receiving touchdowns (five) in his first season with the Jaguars, despite missing the first four games due to a thumb injury. Thomas, who caught a TD in four of his last seven contests in 2015, has tied for the leagues’ fifth-most receiving TDs (29) since 2013, leading all NFL TEs in that span.

Middleton was responsible for a tight ends unit in 2014 that was plagued by injuries early in the season to veterans Marcedes Lewis and Clay Harbor.  Lewis missed eight games with an ankle injury and Harbor was inactive the first three weeks with a calf injury.  Undrafted rookie Nic Jacobs stepped into the lineup and played in 13 games with four starts.   Harbor finished with a career-best 26 receptions for 289 yards while Lewis added two scores.  

In Middleton’s first season with the Jaguars, three different players made starts at tight end with Lewis (11), Harbor (2) and Allen Reisner (2). Lewis led the club with four receiving touchdowns including a score in three straight games for the first time in his career.

Under Middleton’s guidance at Duke, kicker Ross Martin and punter Will Monday received first-team Freshman All-America honors in 2012. Martin set a school single-season record with 106 points while Monday led the ACC with a 44.6-yard average. The tight end duo of Issac Blakeney and David Reeves, both playing for the first time in their careers, combined for 50 receptions for 412 yards and four touchdowns.

Duke tight end Cooper Helfet twice earned honorable mention All-ACC honors in 2010 and 2011. In two seasons at Duke, Helfet caught 77 passes for 775 yards and six touchdowns. Kicker Will Snyderwine was a first team All-American selection in 2010 after connecting on a single-season record 21 field goals.

In the three-year span from 2010-12, the Blue Devils recovered an ACC-best eight onside kicks while ranking among the top four in kickoff coverage all three seasons. In addition, Duke was second in the ACC in punt return average in 2012 and scored two touchdowns.

Prior to joining the Blue Devils, Middleton spent one season (2007) on the staff at Alabama where he coached the tight ends and the special teams units. Under Middleton’s direction, Alabama kicker Leigh Tiffin totaled 111 points with a school single-season record 25 field goals. In addition, Javier Arenas ranked among the SEC’s top 10 leaders in both kickoff and punt return average while tight end Nick Walker caught 23 passes for 204 yards and two touchdowns.

The Atmore, Ala. native served three seasons (2004-06) as an assistant coach with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers under head coach Jon Gruden. Middleton coached the tight ends and assisted with special teams and helped Tampa Bay to the 2005 NFC South Division championship. He was a member of the Buccaneers’ training camp coaching staff in 2003 as a part of the NFL’s Minority Coaching Fellowship Program, and was selected by Gruden in 2006 to attend the NFL’s Coaches Career Development Symposium.

Middleton spent five seasons (1999-2003) on the coaching staff at Mississippi where he worked with the tight ends for three seasons and running backs for two campaigns along with serving as the special teams coordinator. The Rebels played in four bowl games during Middleton’s tenure. Kicker Jonathan Nichols, who set 15 school records, earned All-SEC honors and captured the Lou Groza Award as the nation’s top placekicker in 2003. In 2003, Nichols connected on 24 of 28 field goals and hit all 45 of his PATs en route a school single-season record 117 points. In Middleton’s final season, punter Cody Ridgeway garnered second-team All-SEC accolades while the Rebels led the SEC in net punting, kickoff returns and field goals.

Middleton began his coaching career at Troy from 1997-98 where he worked with the tight ends, offensive tackles and assisted with special teams. He also spent time in private business, serving as vice president of American Communications.

A four-year letterwinner at tight end for Auburn from 1982-85, Middleton helped the Tigers to a four-year ledger of 37-12 with four bowl games that produced three victories. In 1983, Auburn posted an 11-1 record, won the SEC title and defeated Michigan, 9-7, in the Sugar Bowl. Middleton earned a degree in pre-law/history from Auburn in 1988 and later received a master’s degree in sports and fitness management from Troy in 1998.

Middleton’s NFL playing career spanned 10 seasons with five different teams. After signing with Atlanta as a rookie free agent, he spent two seasons (1986-87) with the Falcons before joining the Washington Redskins for the 1988 campaign. Following one season (1989) with the Cleveland Browns, Middleton returned to the Redskins for four seasons that included a win over Buffalo in Super Bowl XXVI. He finished his career with the Los Angeles Rams (1994) and the San Diego Chargers (1995).

Middleton is married (Kalita) with three children: Desman, Ron II and Zaria.

COACHING BACKGROUND: Troy 1997-98, Mississippi 1999-2003, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2004-06, Alabama 2007, Duke 2008-12, Jacksonville Jaguars 2013-16.

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