A big Fourth of July for Will Muschamp and his USC program was capped in the afternoon by a commitment from RB Lavonte Valentine (6-0 188) of Melbourne, FL. His was the second commitment of the day for Muschamp. In the morning he added DL Jabari Ellis of Georgia Military JC to the class. Valentine, who picked the Gamecocks over LSU and Louisville, is the 12th commitment for that class.
Valentine also is a track talent and one of the fastest running backs in the country. USC recruiter Bobby Bentley impressed upon him early in the process the Gamecocks’ need for his speed and the opportunity he’ll have at USC to run track as well. Valentine also has much of his family in South Carolina and that, too, was a major attraction for him. But it was the persistence of Muschamp and Bentley that won him over.
“Coach Bentley, I’m in contact with him and Coach Muschamp like almost every single day since they’ve been recruiting me,” Valentine said. “He did tell me it’s going to be a great improvement for their program I guess because they haven’t had a speedy back or a back as fast as me. They like to run the ball but they just don’t have the back as fast as me. He said I’ll fit in well, they’ll put me on special teams and there’s a variety of ways I can help the team.”
USC offered Valentine earlier this year and he visited for the spring game. Muschamp made it clear to him he was a priority but he never pressured him to commit, and in the end, that’s a big reason why he got him.
“He hasn’t ever told me I need you to commit now or your spot is going to be gone,” Valentine said. “He never did anything like that. He never pressured me. And I have a strong connection with him. I talked to him every single day. He said whenever you’re ready, you just commit. He told me I’m holding this spot for you and I could see he like me a lot. Every time I talked to him it was like heartfelt conversations. I know he’s not BS-ing me or anything like that.”
Valentine rushed for 890 yards and 10 touchdowns last season. He said he can get the tough yards and run thru contact, but he prefers those open spaces his speed creates.
“When I score touchdowns it’s like 50, 60, 70, 80 yard runs,” he said.”
Valentine is the second running back commitment for the class and the Gamecocks have filled their quota at the position for this recruiting campaign. Last season Valentine rushed for 890 yards and 10 touchdowns. He plans to attend the USC prospect gathering on July 22nd.