Florida Gators decommit Tavonte Valentine has sights set on another SEC school

Louisiana State Tigers safety Eric Reid (1) linebacker Deion Jones (45) and head coach Les Miles react following a game against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Donald W. Reynolds Stadium. LSU defeated Arkansas 20-13. (Beth Hall-USA TODAY Sports)

Tavonte Valentine is an ESPN Watch List prospect for the 2014 recruiting cycle. Of course, a lot can and does happen on the recruiting trail for these big-time guys, especially so far out from next year’s National Signing Day.

And for the 6-foot-4, 295-pound native of Palm Bay, Fla., a lot already has. Valentine originally committed to play for Louisville and coach Charlie Strong. Strong spent years as an assistant at Florida and remains closely tied to the area in terms of the state’s high school talent.

However, the defensive tackle quickly rescinded his verbal, choosing instead to commit to Strong’s former school in Florida. The Gators are entering the third season of the Will Muschamp era, and Coach Boom has already proven he can recruit with the very best of them.

But Valentine again suffered a change of heart, as he did not love Gainesville, either (and you can thank us for the puns later).

Now, the young man has said that he will wait until National Signing Day to make his decision, but even that may not wind up being the case.

Another SEC school has made Valentine an offer, and this may be one he cannot refuse.

“I got off the phone with Les Miles and Brick Haley and they told me I had an offer,” Valentine told James Smith of NOLA.com. “LSU is a big deal. It is a big-time school and to receive an offer from them is special.

“They were telling me about the tradition and how they put so many players into the NFL. It is a special place.”

Again, a lot can happen between now and the time Valentine actually puts on the hat of his school of choice. The speculation will continue to run rampant, as Florida and Louisville have not by any means put a halt to their efforts to bring the big man to campus.

But for now, it looks like LSU has the leg up in the pursuit of one of the top 2014 prospects in the nation.

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