LSU Football Recruiting: Travonte Valentine Would Beef Up Middle of Tigers' D

Carter BryantContributor IJanuary 17, 2014

247 Sports

Les Miles hopes to celebrate Valentine's Day early this year.  

As of right now, LSU has no defensive tackle commits in the 2014 recruiting class. Miles and his coaching staff desperately want that to change when national signing day occurs on Feb. 5th. 

When searching for a match, Miles has fell in love with prospect Travonte Valentine.  

Valentine is a gigantic human being. The 6'3'', 338-pound mammoth would immediately become big man on campus in a literal sense. 

Valentine has narrowed his college choices down to Miami and LSU. The pride of Palm Bay, Fla. was initially committed to the Hurricanes, but he denounced his commitment after rumors swirled about a possible departure of head coach Al Golden. 

LSU was struck by Cupid's arrow when it learned it was still in the running for Valentine. 

LSU lost starting defensive tackles Ego Ferguson and Anthony Johnson to the NFL draft. The Tigers were not particularly deep at the position behind the duo. Christian LaCouture and Quentin Thomas served as backups, neither of which were difference makers. 

The Tigers do return some highly touted freshman from the 2013 class in Greg Gilmore and Maquedius Bain. Expect both Gilmore and Bain to get their shot at meaningful snaps next season. 

The Tigers need to be as deep on the defensive line as possible. Championship-level defenses in college football always have the luxury of rotating freely in the trenches. 

Miles was heartbroken when 5-star target Gerald Willis chose Florida over LSU at the Under Armour All-America Game. If Valentine commits to LSU, he would be a great rebound for the Tigers. 

Valentine dominated Florida high school football. He was an unblockable force up the middle against the run and pass, terrorizing offenses right when the ball was snapped.

The biggest concern for Valentine is pad level. Since he is so massive, he rarely played offensive linemen close to his size. He rarely had to fire off the football low because he would simply blow through the opposition. 

Valentine's height would allow him to easily "swim move" over centers and guards, making him impossible to block. He will not have that luxury in college.  

Valentine has shown the potential to play low and with better leverage. But it will take time for him to get out of bad high school habits at the college level. 

Do not be surprised if Valentine redshirts, as he has a long way to go with his mechanics. Michael Brockers and Barkevious Mingo both redshirted at LSU and ended up as first-round NFL draft picks. 

No matter where he goes, Valentine has the potential to be a ferocious space-eater up the middle at the college level. 

Miles loves Valentine. But the question remains if Valentine will love Miles back by signing with LSU on national signing day. 

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