Two down, two to go.
When last we left the saga that is Travonte Valentine, the talented defensive tackle had been given the thumbs up by the SEC for a return to LSU after a year at the junior college level, but still needed to complete coursework over the summer to be cleared by the university. With less than a month left until the start of summer camp, it appears Valentine is on target for his anticipated return.
From the New Orleans Times-Picayune:
Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College defensive tackle Travonte Valentine continues to make strides in the classroom and off the field, as he completed two summer courses, both resulting in B grades, with just two more to go, according to a source. Valentine remains focused on his return to Baton Rouge, stating that he is 330 pounds right now, which we verified with trainers and coaches, signaling a shift in the talented player’s off the field efforts to revitalize what was a promising career.
According to the Times-Picayune, Valentine would be eligible for immediate reinstatement upon completion of those two classes. It’s believed that Valentine won’t be available for the start of summer camp, but he should be on the field at some point during the first week of August.
If/when that return happens, it’d be the continuation of a lengthy — and bumpy — odyssey for the touted tackle.
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 last July, it was reported that Valentine, in addition to the academic issues, had failed multiple drug tests.
In January, Valentine expressed hope that Miles would give him another shot with his football team.
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.