|HometownEdwardsville , IL|
A run-stopping force in the middle of the defensive line, Valentine earned first-team all-Southwestern Conference honors as a junior after racking up 33 tackles. He had 29 tackles, two sacks and one fumble recovery during his sophomore season. Valentine is deceptively quick for his size and showed that he’s the type of player who can fill gaps and keep linebackers clean to make tackles — something Nebraska struggled with at times in 2011.
Valentine struck a quick relationship with former defensive line coach John Papuchis and has said that Nebraska was long his top program throughout the recruiting process. Valentine is the No. 49 defensive tackle in the country according to 247Sports.
Valentine brings the size the Husker staff has been coveting in a defensive tackle. Nebraska struggled with defensive tackle depth at times in 2011, especially late in the Big Ten season. Getting a big, true run-stopper like Valentine was atop NU’s list of priorities with this class. Because of his size, Valentine likes his chances of cracking the rotation early. He said he knows he’ll have to work on building proper footwork and movement to help him at the next level.
Valentine was able to rely on his sheer size in high school, but in the Big Ten he’ll have to refine his technique and add muscle. Valentine will definitely benefit from working with Nebraska strength coach James Dobson, and could be a force in the middle as he continues to get stronger and learn Nebraska’s two-gap defensive system.
Photo Credit: The Edwardsville Intelligencer
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