4-star offensive lineman commits to LSU over Auburn, 'Bama
BATON ROUGE - Georgia offensive lineman Chidi Valentine-Okeke surprised coaches and fans alike when he declared for LSU on Thursday morning.
Valentine-Okeke, a 6'6", 310-pound four-star lineman from Ludwici, Georgia, announced his decision to pass on Alabama and Auburn after an in-home visit by the player, head coach Les Miles and offensive line coach Jeff Grimes on Wednesday night. While Tide and inferior Tiger fans may be disappointed, the pickup of Valentine-Okeke could be of utmost importance to an LSU football team in desperate need for a capable offensive tackle.
Having recently returned from a visit to the school, the final meeting with Miles and Grimes seemed to seal the deal even though the prospect met with representatives from Auburn earlier this week. When speaking to sports news website Scout.com, the big O-lineman was effusive concerning his enthusiasm for the school:
"I just love everything about LSU," Valentine-Okeke told Scout.com. "Coach Miles was very, very happy when I gave him the news. I am happy too, to have my decision."
His commitment comes as a shock to many industry experts, especially when in terms of time frame and media platform. He postponed a planned TV announcement of his decision on Monday, and Valentine-Okeke called off yet another announcement opportunity on Fox Sports South following visits from several college coaches. The lineman was quick to admit to press that choosing between the three schools was not the easiest choice he has ever had to make.
"I'm a big recruit and get all these phone calls all the time. Sometimes I wish I was a 1-star," said the humble, newly-minted LSU recruit.
LSU's relentless recruiting techniques have paid dividends for their new talent acquisition efforts in advance of next season as the Valentine-Okeke get represents another instance where LSU was able to beat out top tier schools to attract quality talent.