Phil Kornblut

The need for speed: South Carolina adds explosive 2018 running back

On the Fourth of July, the South Carolina football team picked up a 2018 player who should be capable of offensive fireworks.

The Gamecocks picked up a second commitment Tuesday when Melbourne, Fla., running back Lavonte Valentine committed to the Gamecocks. He’s the 12th commit for the class and second running back, joining Deshaun Fenwick.

Valentine has a lot of family in the Palmetto State and was recruited by Bobby Bentley, Coleman Hutzler and Will Muschamp.

“These coaches have been true to me since day one,” Valentine wrote on Twitter in announcing his commitment. “They have never made me question them, have always made me feel at home. The fans love me and my family is in the 803.”

The 6-foot, 190-pound runner had named a top seven of Florida, Southern Cal, Kentucky, LSU, Louisville, Notre Dame and the Gamecocks. He is a three-star recruit, the No. 13 all-purpose back and No. 84 player in Florida, according to the 247Sports Composite rating that factors in all networks.

Valentine showed off his speed at the Florida high school track championships by running a 10.61 100-yard dash to win a state title. On the football field in 2016, he ran for 884 yards (at 9.6 per carry) and had 175 receiving (at 29.2 per catch).

“I just like the vibe the coaches at South Carolina give me,” he said in the spring. “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.”

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