Philadelphia OG JohnCarlo Valentin Getting Strong UCLA Vibe

Nov. 3 -- Imhotep offensive guard JohnCarlo Valentin said UCLA remains high on his list, and an official visit is in his future...

A month ago, Imhotep offensive guard prospect JohnCarlo Valentin said UCLA was one of his top schools, and an official visit was in his future.

Following a recent win against West Philadelphia, Valentin re-iterated the Bruins were one of the schools standing out, and he said offensive line coach Adrian Klemm was a big reason why he holds UCLA in high regard.

"Coach Klemm is a cool coach," Valentin said. "He's been in every position I want to be in; like a high school All-American, a first round draft pick out of college (and Super Bowl champ). We just relate in so many different ways."

Valentin already made official visits to Oklahoma and Arizona State, and he is also considering a number of other schools, including Temple, Rutgers, Auburn, Virginia Tech, Alabama, South Carolina, Wisconsin, NC State and Pittsburgh.

However, he has not made a lot of visits out of the region, and getting to see UCLA's campus and getting an in-deph look at the program is important.

"He has not been there, and I think it is a place he really wants to see," Imhotep coach Alby Crosby said. "JohnCarlo is thinking, 'I want to be in a city, and I think being in L.A. will be really good for me.' (Assistant) coach (Tom) Bradley came out in the spring and came to the school. He said there are not too many kids out (west) that can move like JohnCarlo, and look like JohnCarlo.

"JohnCarlo really likes UCLA. He's really interested in them."

Valentin added he does not know a lot about UCLA, but he heard about the academic prestige of the school and the beauty of the campus. When he makes the official visit, though, could depend on Imhotep's season. 

The Panthers are off this weekend, but the SATs will keep him home. The playoffs start the following weekend, and Imhotep could make a deep run. The championship game is the weekend of Dec. 18-19, which means official visits would have to take place in January if Imhotep made it the title game for the second time in three years.

"I'm still looking at all the schools," he said. "I still have to schedule my other visits. I'm not sure when they will be but I haven't cut my list."

Arizona State assistant coach Chip Long was out to see Valentin play Friday, and the gesture meant a lot.

"I'm very interested in them," Valentin said. "It's the atmosphere and the people, definitely, and the football team as well."

The other official visit Valentin made was to Oklahoma. It came in early September, but the memory is still fresh.

"They definitely need me to come back down there," Valentin said. "If there was a possibility to take two officials (to one school), I would go there again. I'm talking to (offensive line) coach Bill (Bedenbaugh) every day and building chemistry not only with him, but with the head coach (Bob Stoops) and all the coaches."

Valentin's latest trip was to Rutgers in late October as he watched the Scarlet Knights play Ohio State. And although the Buckeyes won 49-7, Valentin said it did not dampen his enthusiasm for the program.

"I didn't see anything bad. I just didn't think they came and played Rutgers football," Valentin said. "Rutgers is a solid program. I like them, too. They just didn't finish the way they wanted to."

Valentin does not have a time frame to make a decision.

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