Valentine decommits, names three leaders

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Top 2014 defensive lineman Travonte Valentine (Palm Bay, Fla./Bayside), decommitted from Louisville on Sunday and has named Auburn, Florida and Alabama his three leaders. The 6-foot-4, 295-pound tackle prospect said it has always been his dream to play in the Southeastern Conference.

"I decided to decommit because I felt like I was a big SEC guy," Valentine said. "I love the programs in the SEC conference and I love how the SEC wins championships. It's just a great conference."

Valentine, who will attend Florida's Friday Night Lights camp on July 27, said his familiarity with the Florida program is a reason the Gators are at the top of his list. Valentine's head coach at Bayside, Derek Smith, coached former Florida players Reggie Nelson and Joe Cohen at Palm Bay High School.

"There is tradition at all three of those schools," Valentine said. "My coach used to coach Reggie Nelson and Joe Cohen. I have a hometown friend, Marcus Maye, that goes to Florida now. When Palm Bay has a big D-I player they usually end up going to Florida."

Though Valentine said he will be finished taking trips this summer after Friday Night Lights, he said he would like to visit Alabama at some point.

"With Alabama, I talk to Nick Saban," Valentine said. "He's pretty cool; he's very interesting to talk to. He's a no-nonsense guy. I talk to their D-line coach, too. I'll take a visit over there sometime."

Valentine says he will likely wait a while before choosing a school, but said some people close to him think Auburn might be the best situation for him.

"With Auburn, it's their recruiting class and how they are picking up good players," he said. "Some people think they are the best fit for me, but I won't know until I make my decision. I'll take my time. I'll have to think. When I make my decision again, it will probably be my senior year."