A 4-star defensive tackle, Travonte Valentine is an interesting recruit to cover. He has a ton of ability, but questions remain about his motivation, commitment and effort on a consistent basis.
However, it appears Valentine is on the rise, as he is starting to put it all together. When he wants to be dominant, there's not many offensive linemen around the country who can challenge him. Valentine is also back on the market, as he is no longer committed to Miami.
With so much surrounding him, it's time to take a closer look at the intriguing defensive tackle prospect.
From Palm Bay, Valentine is a defensive tackle who attends Champagnat Catholic-Hialeah High School in Florida. He had a great senior season in 2013, as he finished with 85 tackles (31.5 for loss) and 16 sacks, according to 247Sports.
Valentine decommitted from Miami on Jan. 4, with LSU now leading the Hurricanes, per 247Sports. The Sunshine State native participated in the 2014 U.S. Army All-American Bowl.
At 6'3" and 338 pounds, Valentine has outstanding size and girth. Yet, he's not just a big man who's only going to eat up space.
Valentine exhibits an explosive first-step at the snap to quickly fire into blockers. He has heavy and quick hands to punch his opponents, plus he has the strength to do what he wants in the trenches.
Valentine's quickness helps him slip through gaps, but he also has the ability to powerfully anchor and make a mess in the middle.
He is capable of converting speed to power quickly when rushing the passer due to his raw skills. Valentine has above-average range to pursue the ball, plus he shows solid quickness when closing to make plays.
While Valentine has good size, he's going to need to re-work certain parts of his body to gain better physical definition.
He also has a knack for taking plays off and not always going full tilt. Valentine needs to watch his pad-level, as he can play too high at times.
Finally, he needs to improve his hand usage both as a run-defender and pass-rusher. He lacks a pass-rush plan, while also not using his hands to shed blocks as effectively as he is capable of.
Here are some highlights of Valentine from his senior season in the Florida 2A state title game. His quickness and strength allowed him to be a disruptive force.
With Miami head coach Al Golden staying in Coral Gables after flirting with Penn State, the Hurricanes will be in the mix until the end for Valentine.
LSU is his leader, says 247Sports, but look for Miami to reel the big defensive tackle back in.
Valentine has the size, quickness and strength to make an impact early in his career. He'll be starting for a college team certainly by his sophomore season.
Valentine can be found on the 2014 Bleacher Report College Football Recruiting Heat Map!