Melbourne, Fla., running back Lavonte Valentine is one of the fastest athletes in Florida and he has narrowed his list to a final seven of USC, Kentucky, Southern Cal, Notre Dame, Louisville, Florida and LSU.
Valentine said USC recruiter Bobby Bentley was down to check on him a couple of weeks ago and he continues to have a good relationship with the Gamecocks.
“He’s trying to get me back up there,” Valentine said adding he’s looking at a return visit to USC on June 10. “Coach Bentley definitely wants me. The whole staff actually wants me. He’s saying I’m a very important factor for what they want to do and how they want to transform their offense.”
Valentine actually has the Gamecocks in his top five out of his top seven. He said LSU, Louisville, Kentucky and Southern Cal also are recruiting him hard along with USC.
“I just like the vibe the coaches at South Carolina give me,” he said. “If you work hard enough I know they’ll let you start. They don’t care about age or he’s a senior or he’s a junior. They don’t care about that. And they’ll let me run track and my entire family is up in South Carolina.”
Valentine said he still has some track events to deal with and that will slow down his recruiting. He plans to visit USC and others in the fall for official visits before making his decision.
▪ Defensive back Kwantel Raines of Aliquippa, Penn., announced his short list of the Gamecocks, Florida, Kentucky, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, Cal, Pitt, Penn State and LSU.
▪ Defensive lineman Dantrell Barkley is still on with his visit to USC on June 7.
“A lot of the staff is just excited to get me down here,” Barkley said.
He also plans to visit Kentucky, N.C. State and some others.
▪ South Carolina quarterback target Tyler Shough of Chandler, Ariz., is offered by nearby Arizona State.