Back in January, Travonte Valentine was hoping Les Miles would give him another shot at a playing career at LSU. Specifically, Valentine was hoping that he’d get another shot at being a Tiger in 2017.
Not only does it appear Miles is ready to welcome the defensive lineman back, but that welcome could come a year earlier than expected. From the New Orleans Times-Picayune:
Currently enrolled at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, Valentine was expected to become a 2017 prospect, but NCAA rules may allow him to suit up for LSU in 2016, according to numerous sources with knowledge of Valentine’s academic situation.
Valentine and other sources have confirmed that LSU has checked with its compliance department about what it would take for him to enroll this fall. Valentine, who is currently in good academic standing, has to maintain at least a 2.5 GPA, while completing the required number of course hours to qualify. The Tigers are taking a conservative approach to the situation, given the history between both parties, but multiple sources said the program is open to the idea if Valentine maintains his current course, and compliance decides that the transfer would meet NCAA guidelines.
Should Valentine ultimately return to Baton Rouge, it’d be the continuation of a lengthy — and bumpy — odyssey.
After signing with the Tigers in February of 2014, Valentine dealt with NCAA Clearinghouse issues — the player said another SEC program was the root cause — that forced him to miss the start of summer camp his true freshman season. While he was ultimately cleared to practice, he was not permitted to play in any games because of the lingering academic issues.
Then in April of last year, head coach Les Miles confirmed that Valentine had been suspended, with the specific reason being, again, academics. At the time of his departure from the program, it was reported that Valentine, in addition to the academic issues, had failed multiple drug tests.
A four-star member of the Tigers’ 2014 recruiting class, Valentine was rated as the No. 3 defensive tackle in the country and the No. 7 player at any position in the state of Florida. He had been expected to be an immediate contributor to LSU’s line rotation.