It's official. Well, almost.
Travonte Valentine is in the final stages of completing his return to the LSU football team, a source confirmed Wednesday. The program is processing his final paperwork and summer academic work. Valentine could be cleared as early as Wednesday night.
The 340-pound defensive tackle is currently in Baton Rouge. He's set to rejoin his old team at some point during preseason camp — a significant boost for a squad searching for a big nose tackle in its new 3-4 scheme.
All but one of the expected 105 players reported for preseason camp Wednesday, Miles said during a news conference.
"We'll have 104. Still waiting on one guy," Miles said Wednesday afternoon. The coach is not allowed to speak about Valentine, as he's still considered a recruit.
Edna Karr defensive lineman Andre Anthony, the only 2016 signee not to report, is not considered in that 105 count, the coach said. Anthony will use an academic redshirt this season after the NCAA ruled him ineligible. He will enroll at LSU and attempt to become eligible by the spring.
Edwin Alexander, a former St. Thomas Aquinas defensive lineman, reported as expected. Alexander, a late qualifier, was cleared the NCAA earlier this week.
Colby Delahoussaye flipped up a finger — a thumb, to be more precise.
Valentine, the third-ranked tackle out of high school in 2014, was expected to rejoin the team barring an academic setback, The Advocate reported Tuesday. He spent the summer at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College working to become eligible.
Valentine was dismissed from LSU last summer for violating team rules, he said in May during an interview with The Advocate. His arrival ends the school's unusual re-recruitment of a former player.
Valentine has three years of eligibility remaining, but he'll be eligible for the NFL draft in the spring. He has spent the last year at two junior colleges — Arizona Western and Mississippi Gulf Coast. He was dismissed from Arizona Western following an arrest after playing in just six games last fall.
On Oct. 15, 2015, Valentine was arrested and charged with a disorderly conduct, a misdemeanor, according to court records obtained by The Advocate. The court dismissed the charge a month later. The arrest stemmed from a physical altercation.
Valentine’s football career started off rocky upon leaving Champagnat Catholic in Hialeah, Florida, in 2014. The Southeastern Conference never ruled him eligible during his true freshman season at LSU, despite the NCAA granting him eligibility.
Miles suspended him for spring practice in 2015 in what the coach suggested was academic in nature. Miles then dismissed him in the summer.
He returns at the right time for a team in need of a big body in the middle of defensive coordinator Dave Aranda's 3-4 alignment.
Nose tackle is somewhat of an unstable position. Christian LaCouture, at 307 pounds, started at nose tackle at the beginning of spring practice before the staff moved Davon Godchaux, at 293 pounds, into that role with two weeks left in spring.
Dave Aranda doesn’t need a massive, quick-footed, 340-pound nose tackle in his defense, he says.
Greg Gilmore is a reserve at the spot, and Alexander is an option, Aranda said over the summer.
Multiple signs this spring pointed to Valentine's return. As recently as two weeks ago, the Miami native visited LSU, meeting with coaches. LSU in May received assurances from the SEC, after making a request to the league, that Valentine would be eligible for the 2016 season if he did in fact rejoin the program and qualify academically.