Huskers in pursuit of touted DT

Four star defensive tackle Vincent Valentine from Edwardsville (IL), has watched his offer list steadily increase over the last few months, with his most recent coming from Nebraska. Vincent talks about his interest level in the Huskers at this early stage, and some of the criteria he'll be looking for in a college when his decision time comes. Get all the details inside.

A lot of times when recruiting along the defensive line, it has more to do with projection than anything else. Not many DL players leaving high school are D-1 ready from a body size/strength standpoint to play in the trenches in college year one, so many times a redshirt is needed regardless of the player's skill level.

That won't be a problem for Vincent Valentine, girth is something he has naturally.

"I was always the big kid you know. Elementary, middle school and now in high school, I've always had the size. Right now I'm 6-foot-4, and 315 pounds. Most college coaches have told me I already have the college body they are looking for. I just need to get a little stronger first."

For a guy that benches 350 pounds and squats close to 500, you wouldn't think strength would be a problem. But for Vincent, he wants more.

"Those are some ok numbers, but I still want to get stronger. I want to be the strongest guy on the field. I'm still recovering from an injury right now though; I'm trying to build my strength back up.

"I tore my labrum last year before my season started. Then I got surgery done around the end of the season in October. I've already been cleared by the doctors, so I'm about to start building that strength back up."

While he has been slowed by the injury, the offers have continued to roll in.

"I'm not sure exactly how many I have right now. I got my first one (offer) from Wisconsin, then more schools offered like Michigan, Oklahoma, Iowa, Alabama, Illinois, Penn State, Florida, Auburn, Arkansas and a few others."

I hear you recently also pulled in one from Nebraska.

"Yes sir, I just got that offer about a week and a half ago. I've always been getting mail from them for a long time, but I just got contacted online by coach Garrison and he told me to call him. So I called him up and was talking to him about the program at Nebraska, all the great tradition and everything. Then he told me right then they were offering. That was a nice surprise."

And for a player that was born and raised in Illinois, Vincent said he still had some pretty good knowledge of the Husker program.

"I know they have a great tradition of winning. They are a program that's been winning for a long time and put a lot of players in the league. I know all about the 300+ sellout streaks and stuff. They also had a great defensive lineman in Ndamukong Suh. He is probably one of my favorite players to watch play, the guy is just a beast.

"I know coach Pelini is there too, and what he's done with players like Glen Dorsey, Tyson Jackson and of course Suh. I've been talking a lot with coach J.P. online, so I know a little about the school."

Why all these big-time offers, what do you bring to the field?

"I think I'm a great run-stopper, I also study the game so I know what I'm going to do. I study the blocking techniques of the O-lineman and that helps me get past them. I'm also a very aggressive player out there on the field, just try to put big hits on people."

Do you play offense and defense in high school?

"I've just played defensive tackle in high school. But I think starting this year I'm going to play some O-line too. On defense I play a 3 technique shaded over the guard in a 4-3 defense. I'll probably be playing guard on offense."

Let's get back to your recruitment, have you taken any unofficial visits over the past year or so?

"Yes sir, I've been to Wisconsin, Illinois and Oklahoma. I went to Wisconsin for a junior day my sophomore year. Then I went to the Illinois and Minnesota game this year in Illinois. I went to Oklahoma during the spring of my sophomore year."

Do you plan to take any more visits this summer, or will you wait for officials during the season?

"I'll probably visit a few school during the summer, but I want to take some officials later this year. My dad was talking about taking a road trip this summer and visiting these schools. Even if I do, I still plan to take 4 or 5 officials. I don't plan on making a commitment until after I take those officials."

Do you see yourself visiting Nebraska at some point?

"I could definitely see myself visiting there. Coach J.P. is always telling about how great it is out there with the fans, the tradition and the great d-line coaching you can get out there. So yeah, I want to get out there and see it all, but I don't know when. I'm thinking maybe an unofficial (visit) this summer, if not an official later this year. I'll just have to wait and see."

Lastly, I asked Vincent to talk about what he'll be looking for in a college on those officials, and what will it take to get him to sign on the dotted line.

"They have to have a great football tradition. Great academics is important, I want to major in either sociology or journalism. I also want to feel like I fit in with the program and have that bond with the coaching staff and players.

"But I'd say a winning program is most important. I don't want to go anywhere that I can't see myself going to a major bowl or BCS game. Distance won't be a major impact, but I'm thinking I don't want to go too far away. I also have a dream of playing in the NFL, so a school with coaches that can help me reach that is important too."

Fast facts: In my spare time, I like to … "Play a lot of X-box and just chill with my friends. Just normal stuff I guess, like go to the movies. Oh and I love to go bowling too."

Besides football, I also participate in … "Track, I throw the shot-put and discus. My best shot-put is 48 and my best discus is 130."

My favorite college team growing up was … "Miami and I liked Oregon too."

If I could eat one thing for the rest of my life, it would be … "Pizza no doubt, I like that sausage and extra pepperoni."

My friends call me … "Big V, I've been called that for awhile now."

With no leaders for his services at this point or plans for an early commitment, look for more updates throughout the year on Vincent Valentine from Big Red Report.

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