“To tell you the truth, he was interested in Oregon, but then those guys just got fired,” Nuno said. “He likes Cal because of the high academics and the Bay Area. The degree is attractive to him. He has no real leaders right now, though. Hopefully he can get good info this weekend (at WSU) and then come back and have a couple of days to make a decision.”
A December graduate and mid-year transfer, Valencia will be a January enrollee to whichever school he chooses and will make his decision by next Wednesday, which is the first day for JUCO prospects to sign.
He has taken visits to Texas Tech, Cal, Utah and Nevada. However, the WSU coaches were able to secure his last official visit during an in-home visit this week. Jim Mastro and Clay McGuire were the WSU coaches leading that front.
"(McGuire and me) talked for over an hour," said Nuno. "We spoke about Robert, where he came from and this and that. He’s excited about him. He thinks they need some depth and I think part of their success has been developing competition on the line. He thinks Robert can make them better and fight for some playing time.”
Valencia was a tight end in high school, signing with Coe College in Iowa as a senior. However, he returned home to San Francisco to enroll at CCSF, where he gained 40 pounds and made the transition to offensive tackle under Nuno's direction.
This was his first year playing offensive tackle, ever, said Nuno. Although he doesn’t have a ton of experience, Nuno said his knowledge for the game and eagerness to learn is what helped him be so successful right away.
“Obviously you can't coach size and frame,” Nuno said. “What makes Robert different – and I know the term 'coachable' gets thrown out a lot – is that he listens, so that the things you’re telling him sink in. He’s paying attention, digests things and puts them into play.
“He’ll come off the field and tell us things he thinks we should be doing. For me, it makes it easy for adjustments. He puts things into action. His biggest attribute is that he does a great job listening. It’s his strength and it makes my job easier. You know he’ll be consistent and be at the right place at the right time.”
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Valencia has two years to play two. Will those final two years of eligibility be spent in Pullman? We’ll find out sometime between now and Wednesday. Stay tuned.