Travonte Valentine plans to arrive in Baton Rouge on Saturday and start school Monday, but those plans could change, he said Thursday evening.
Valentine, LSU’s four-star defensive tackle signee from Florida, is awaiting clearance from the Southeastern Conference to join the football team. Valentine has been admitted into school and has been cleared by the NCAA.
“I think there’s a few people that don’t want me to play in the SEC,” Valentine said, “and I’m pretty sure who it is, but I’m not going to say.”
Valentine suggested that he was referring to another SEC school.
The SEC office did not immediately return a message for comment on Valentine’s situation.
Valentine remains at his home in Hialeah, Florida, a suburb of Miami.
Valentine, a hotly recruited player ranked in the top five at his position nationally, was offered scholarships by nine SEC schools. He de-committed from Louisville, Miami and Florida before picking LSU on National Signing Day.
Valentine said LSU defensive backs coach Corey Raymond is expected to meet with his mother to discuss the ordeal more Thursday night. He did not have any more information on what the SEC was looking into.
Valentine transferred high schools after his junior season.
Coach Les Miles on Tuesday said Valentine is expected to arrive in the next “two to three days.”
“There’s another administrative hurdle, if you will, that it has to go back through certain channels including the conference,” Miles said. “It’s a new legislation, if you will, based on guys who would get qualified late.”
Valentine would immediately begin practicing with the Tigers once cleared, the coach said. However, Valentine cannot immediately begin working out in full pads. He’ll have to sit through the NCAA’s mandated acclimation period.
No. 13 LSU begins the 2014 season Aug. 30 against No. 14 Wisconsin.
Valentine is ranked as the No. 3 defensive tackle in the 2014 class by 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.
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.