Florida Gators are “number one” for Valentine after his visit

Tuesday was a busy day on the Florida Gators campus as the coaching staff hosted several prospects on campus and they were able to watch practice.

One of those guys was running back Lavonte Valentine (6-2, 190, Melbourne, FL. Melbourne Central Catholic) who got to see a lot on Tuesday.

“It was pretty good, I liked everything about it on both the football and track side,” Valentine said of Tuesday’s visit. “They showed me some of the academics too, it was pretty good. The first thing we did was talk to all of the coaches, and then we toured the Swamp. We got to see the new building and then we went watched practice.”

Valentine has been getting a lot of praise lately for his ability on the track and he wants to continue doing that and he got the news he wanted from the Florida track coaches on Tuesday.

“He was telling that he really wanted me,” he said of what the track coaches told him. “He said that they would let me do both track and football. He said whenever I need to be at football that’s cool and stuff like that. It means a lot because I told them that I wasn’t going to commit to a school that wasn’t going to let me do both.”

This was the first time for running backs coach JaJuan Seider to meet Valentine and the running back impressed the coach in person.

“Coach Seider said he didn’t think I was that big until he saw me in person,” Valentine said of Seider’s message. “He was like, that he wants to just look and see me scoring touchdowns and that he would love to have me. He’s very up front with me and like that.”

Head coach Jim McElwain had a message for Valentine that the running back appreciated hearing from the head man himself.

“Coach Mac said that I’m a Gator and that I can go and visit all of these other schools but that I’m a Gator,” he said laughing. “It meant a lot coming from the head coach and he was telling me about the three-year degree plan. He said that if I able to go to the draft in three years that I would also be going into the draft with my degree. I liked that.”

Valentine was able to watch the Gators running backs go through practice and he came away feeling like he would fit in with Florida team.

“Their practice was very similar to our practice,” he said of Florida’s practice. “They do quick drills and then when the whistle blows you run to the next drill. I got to watch the running backs a lot and I think I’m a little different from the backs they have now.”

Heading into the visit Valentine was high on the Gators but Florida helped itself even more on Tuesday.

“This visit most definitely helped them,” Valentine said of this visit to Florida. “They’re number one right now. I’m going to visit LSU and then Tennessee next.”


INSIDERS TAKE: Valentine says that he still wants to wait awhile before he commits but this visit made a big impression on him. Having both the track and football coaches wanting him was big because Valentine wants to do both in college.

Andrew Spivey
Andrew always knew he wanted to be involved with sports in some capacity. He began by coaching high school football for six years before deciding to pursue a career in journalism. While coaching, he was a part of two state semifinal teams in the state of Alabama. Given his past coaching experience, he figured covering recruiting would be a perfect fit. He began his career as an intern for Rivals.com, covering University of Florida football recruiting. After interning with Rivals for six months, he joined the Gator Country family as a recruiting analyst. Andrew enjoys spending his free time on the golf course and watching his beloved Atlanta Braves. Follow him on Twitter at @AndrewSpiveyGC.