Former Edwardsville High all-state defensive tackle Vincent Valentine, now a junior at Nebraska, announced his decision to leave the Cornhuskers on Monday and declare himself eligible for the 2016 NFL Draft.
The 21-year-old Valentine made the announcement on his Twitter account (@TheRealVRVJ).
“First & foremost I would like to thank God for the blesses bestowed upon me. After much consideration, I have decided to declare myself eligible for the 2016 NFL Draft. Playing in the NFL has been my lifelong dream & I am so grateful for the opportunity. I have so many people to thank, including my family, friends, coaches, teammates, and professors, who have helped me get to this stage in (my) career, earn my degree, and excel both on and off the field, I'd like to sincerely thank the best fans in the land, Husker Nation, for all the love and unwavering encouragement over the years. I will always bleed Husker Red! I know that God has a plan for me & this is the next chapter in my life.”
The 6-foot-3, 320-pound Valentine battled injuries this season and played in 10 games with seven starts. He had three quarterback sacks among his 10 tackles, including four tackles for loss.
Valentine has already graduate with a degree in journalism. His Nebraska career included seven sacks, 14.5 tackles for loss and 76 tackles.
He started 11 of 14 games as a sophomore in 2014, contributing three sacks, seven tackles for loss and 45 tackles overall. He also started six of 13 games in 2013 as a redshirt freshman, earning Honorable Mention Big Ten Conference All-Freshman Team honors.
Nebraska finished 6-7 this season, beating UCLA 37-29 in the Foster Farms Bowl in Santa Clar, Calif.