Keithen Valentine:"I Made a Statement"

During the next few days, mini-profiles on Kansas State's returning stars, brightest newcomers, and biggest question marks will be featured on offense and defense. Today's segment is on potentially the brightest newcomers in 2008.

OFFENSE:

"People say I made a statement, but that doesn't mean anything now." Those are the words of Keithen Valentine on being the lone bright spot from the 2008 spring game when he rushed for 104 yards.

"That was nice, but now I need to show something in games when the season starts."

Valentine, a native of Baton Rouge, La., and transfer from Mississippi Delta Community College, is just 5-8 and 195 pounds, but in scouting himself, says, "I'm small, but also have some power. Most people would use the word shifty."

One of those is running back coach Ricky Rahne:
"Keithen is shifty with good vision. He's tough and plays with a lot of heart. I think that spring game helped his confidence, and maybe even the confidence of our fans."

Valentine went unrecruited out of junior college and is a walk-on to the Wildcat program.

Valentine will be pivotal to the K-State offense as the collective running back position does not have a single carry or yard of NCAA experience.

If there's an area where he needs to improve, Valentine will give an immediate answer of "pass blocking."

DEFENSE:
It's been a long, long, long time for Olu Hall. He played a touch of nickel-back in 2005 for Virginia, but then had to sit out the 2006 season for academic reasons.

In 2007, he transferred to Kansas State, and due to the NCAA transfer rule, Hall had to sit and watch another season of football.

Flashing a smile, Hall said, "It's been a while. I can't wait to get out there and get after it."

Kansas State coach Ron Prince understands that feeling, which has him a bit concerned.

"One of the things I've tried to explain to Olu is that he can't make it all up at one time," Prince said.

"If you stop off at a rest stop and you stay a little too long, and you want to make it all up in a short amount of time, something bad usually happens. That's what I've explained to him."

The 6-3, 230-pound native of Fairfax, Va., smiles at the comment, and then repeats, "I can't wait to get after it. I haven't really hit someone in a long time."

Hall calls himself a "fast guy" on a defense that he describes as "very fast." Laughing he said, "I'm used to being the fastest guy on the field, but here we have d-linemen just as fast as me. It's going to be an exciting defense to be a part of."

Out of Hargrave Military Academy in 2004, Hall was ranked as a 4-Star player and as the No. 39 linebacker in the country by Scout.com.

Hall is expected to start on one side at outside linebacker, while returnee Antwon Moore will be on the other.


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