By CODY WORSHAM
Tiger Rag Editor
Ed Orgeron and Dave Aranda could be getting a long-anticipated reinforcement in the center of LSU’s new-look defensive line.
Ross Dellenger at The Advocate reports the SEC has cleared a return to LSU for Travonte Valentine, a former four-star tackle out of Palm Bay, Fla. who signed with the Tigers in the 2014 class but left school before ever playing a down. He failed to clear NCAA academic hurdles as a freshman, before being dismissed from the team in the spring of 2015.
Now playing at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, Valentine has expressed interest in returning to the program, and LSU has reciprocated that interest, hosting him on several visits over the last few weeks, Dellenger reports.
Before a return, Valentine must complete 13 hours of class work over the summer. He holds offers from Auburn and Mississippi State as well, but would only be immediately eligible at LSU this fall, due to an NCAA exception.
Valentine’s addition, however remote or likely the possibility may be, would greatly bolster LSU’s front at a key position in Aranda’s new 3-4 defense. The 6-foot-3, 345 pound nose guard was the No. 2 defensive tackle in the nation coming out of high school and could add quality depth behind starter Davon Godchaux.
“I am still talking to LSU,” Valentine said. “LSU and I are still working on something. There might be a surprise coming there soon. Look out for a surprise around August.”
Valentine said his main line of communication has come through Orgeron, who spent only a few months with the former Tiger during his short stint in Baton Rouge. No matter, it appears LSU’s defensive line coach is eager to see if the former four-star prospect can make a splash, once again.
“I still talk to Coach O,” Valentine told 247Sports in April. “We still have a great bond. I saw him two days ago. I could tell he was excited to see me again. I could just feel the energy again just from seeing him.
“I am still talking to LSU,” Valentine added. “LSU and I are still working on something. There might be a surprise coming there soon. Look out for a surprise around August.”