football

Three stand out for Valentine

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Edwardsville (Ill.) defensive tackle Vincent Valentine has had Nebraska at the top of his list since the beginning of summer, but now another Big Ten school is closing in on the Cornhusker's lead.
"The University of Illinois is really moving on my list," Valentime said. "It's just the total interest that they have in me. They really want me and told me I could come in and play early.
"It's really close to home, and I really like that. That's one of the things I was looking for in a college. I really like Coach [Keith] Gilmore and he puts d-linemen in the League. They had a pretty decent season last year and made it to the Texas Bowl."
Nebraska's position atop Valentine's list remains intact despite the recent surge from Illinois.
"They are still my No. 1 and I'm ready to get down there and visit," Valentine said. "If the visit goes well, they would [clearly] be my leader, but it's really close right now with Nebraska, Florida and Illinois."
Florida rounds out Valentine's current top three, and he had a conversation with the Gators last Thursday.
"I talked to Coach [Bryant] Young the first day that they could call," Valentine said. "He called me that night and we had a great conversation. We were talking about when I was going to get down to Florida."
Valentine had hoped to start setting official visits for early in the fall, but those trips are currently on hold.
"I don't have anything set up because I am still talking to me parents about when I'm going to be able to take visits," Valentine said. "They are supposed to be going out of town soon, so maybe the end of October I will take two of my visits."
Out of his top three schools, Valentine knows for sure he will take official visits to Florida and Nebraska. He will likely not take an official visit to Illinois because of their close proximity to his home.
After his top three, Valentine still lists interest in Tennessee, Arkansas and Wisconsin.
The 6-3, 300-pound has helped lead his Edwardsville team to a 1-1 start to the season. On Saturday he recorded eight tackles and four quarterback pressures. He also found himself in the rare position to record an interception.
"I recognized what their line was doing, so I figured it was going to be a screen," Valentine said. "I got passed the line, followed the running back and picked it off. It could have been a touchdown, but I ended up fumbling the ball."
Valentine noted that his play recognition is better this season than last, and he also feels quicker off the football.
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