Surprise, surprise. Just moments after I tweet out my angst at LSU's signing class seemingly closing with a whimper, there goes the bang. Composite 4-star Chidi Valentine-Okeke pulled the trigger and committed to LSU. The Georgia native visited LSU back on January 16th, but most believed this to be an Auburn/Alabama battle. Corey Raymond continues to show that his recruiting chops rank with near anyone in the nation, now dipping into Georgia for a mega-talented OL.
Valentine-Okeke is good friends with current LSU DL Travonte Valentine (no relation), which surely factored into his decision. LSU long needed another OL for this class, and Valentine is as good as it gets there. At 6'6", he's a lean 305.This kid is all types of athletic. He stood out at the Army All-American Bowl practices:
Top100 offensive tackle Chidi Valentine-Okeke could have easily made the top three offensive performers. The massive 6-foot-6, 305-pound Okeke-Valentine continues to prove he is athletic enough to match up with the speedy defensive ends.
1. Chidi Valentine-Okeke, OT – You would expect Valentine-Okeke to be extremely raw and a little bit overmatched in the All-American setting based on his limited experience and competition level. That wasn't the case. He has the best frame at the event and his ability to bend at that size and move laterally make him unique. He was also extremely coachable and competitive. Suddenly it looks like an Alabama-Auburn battle for the Top100 prospect and his upside is immense.
Evaluators are a bit torn on this kid. Rivals, specifically, is the only thing keeping him from Composite 5-star status, ranking him as a 3-star. While 247 has him as a 5-star. Why the divide? He's considered "raw." He only came to the U.S.two years ago. He initially landed in Miami, but transferred to an Atlanta-area HS under strange circumstances. Upon transferring, it was also realized that he should be reclassified as a 2015 prospect. All of these things likely factor into the divide in rankings.
On his commitment Valentine-Okeke stated:
"I just love everything about LSU," said Valentine-Okeke. "Coach Miles was very, very happy when I gave him the news. I am happy too, to have my decision."
This is a major blast to the 2015 class that looked to be winding down. This kid has top 10 NFL draft pick potential. He's massive, athletic, with long arms and can bend at the waist. In short, your ideal LT type. There is some concern that he's a qualifying risk.
Valentine-Okeke's commitment pushes LSU's class up to 8th overall in the composite team rankings. When I survey the remaining landscape, there doesn't seem to be much more on the horizon. But then, this news came from nowhere. Can LSU make the leap into the top 5?