Four-star defensive tackle Travonte Valentine has been cleared by the NCAA to play at LSU, his high school coach confirmed.
Valentine tweeted the news Monday morning. Mike Tunsil, Valentine’s high school coach at Champagnat Catholic - Hialeah, confirmed the news with The Advocate.
Valentine will arrive at LSU on Tuesday, Tunsil said. He’ll begin practice either Tuesday or Wednesday. LSU has a scrimmage scheduled for Tuesday.
A team spokesman said that Valentine is “going through the final phases of the admission process” but has yet to be cleared through the school.
Valentine, a 6-foot-3, 330-pounder out of Florida, has been waiting for the NCAA clearinghouse to make him eligible. On Monday morning, he tweeted, “Guess what I’m cleared to play college ball at the university of louisanna state !!”
Valentine is ranked as the No. 3 defensive tackle in the 2014 class, according to 24/7 Sports’ composite rankings. He was the ninth-best player out of Florida this year and was the only freshman in LSU’s No. 2-ranked signing class not to have started practice with the Tigers on Aug. 4.
Valentine must go through the NCAA’s mandated four-day acclimation period. He won’t be allowed to participate in full pads until his fifth day of practice.
It’s unclear how big of a role Valentine could have this season. He’s beginning practice more than two weeks late, and LSU’s defensive tackle position is young but somewhat deep.
Christian LaCouture and Frank Herron are expected to be the starters. Redshirt freshmen Greg Gilmore and Maquedius Bain are in line for the rotation. Quentin Thomas, originally listed as a starter before tearing his biceps during the first week of practice, is expected to play this season with the injury.
Defensive coordinator John Chavis said he’d like to rotate five to six players at tackle this year.
Game day decision
Wisconsin coach Gary Andersen will not name a starting quarterback until the day of the season opener against LSU, according to FOX Sports Wisconsin.
Returning starter Joel Stave and dual-threat Tanner McEvoy have been competing during fall camp. Stave, a true pocket passer, missed most of spring drills with a lingering shoulder injury, opening the door for the more run-centric McEvoy.
Most believe Stave has the edge, though Andersen won’t reveal that until the Tigers and Badgers meet in Houston on Aug. 30.
“We may know who the starter is, but we’re not going to say who the starter is until we jog out on the field for the LSU game,” Andersen said Monday following a scrimmage, according to FOX Sports Wisconsin.
Beckwith in the mix
Kendell Beckwith has been practicing with the first string at middle linebacker, but he’s still mostly running with the No. 2s, he said recently.
Beckwith is competing with senior starter D.J. Welter for playing time at the position.
“It’s been a little rotation,” Beckwith said. “Either he runs the 1s or I run the 1s, and I go with the 2s and they’ll be the same plays.”
The 6-foot-2, 245-pound Beckwith says he expects there to be a rotation during games, but he doesn’t “know how it’s going to go” exactly.