Former Edwardsville standout Vincent Valentine is a New England Patriot.
The 2012 EHS grad declared for the 2016 NFL Draft following his junior season with the Nebraska Cornhuskers. On Saturday night he was taken in the third round with the 96th overall pick by the Pats.
A 6-foot-3, 320-pound nose tackle, Valentine was projected to go between the fifth and seventh rounds, but New England saw something in him to take him earlier.
He was a second-team all-state selection his senior year at Edwardsville by the Chicago Tribune. He also was a first-team All-Southwestern Conference pick and a first-team Class 7A all-state performer according the Illinois High School Coaches Association.
Valentine had a big press conference at the Jon Davis Wrestling Center where he pulled a Nebraska hat out of a bag to announce his college choice. He chose Nebraska over Florida and Illinois and also had a slew of other offers.
He redshirted his first year with the Cornhuskers in 2012. In 2013 as a redshirt freshman, he played in 13 games, including 6 starts, picking up 21 tackles, 11 solos, 5 tackles for loss and 1 sack. He was an honorable mention on the Big Ten All-Freshman team.
During his sophomore year of 2014 he turned heads, playing in 13 games with 11 starts while securing 45 tackles, 7 tackles for loss and 3 sacks. Valentine had at least 4 tackles in 6 different games as a sophomore.
Injuries plagued him as a junior in 2015, but he still managed to get in 10 games and have 7 starts. He finished with 10 tackles, but had 4 tackles for loss and 3 sacks.
Valentine is in good hands with the Patriots. New England has won 13 AFC East titles in the last 15 years and won 4 Super Bowl championships over that span (2001, 2003, 2004 and 2014). The Pats also went to the Super Bowl and lost in 2007 and 2011.