Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Player Feature: Denzel Valentine, Lansing Sexton

This player feature is a first for NGS as we take a look at a freshman playing freshman football. Denzel Valentine stands 6-3 and is known around Michigan for his play on the hardwood as a combo guard, but after watching his Sexton team route Owosso 42-6 last Thursday it is very clear that Valentine is a pure quarterback. Valentine already has the body frame of a D-1 quarterback, and I truly believe he could start on 75% of the varsity teams in Michigan.

Valentine had his choice of what level of football he wanted to play between freshman, J.V., and varsity. "I really didn't want to play varsity because I would have been a back up and I want to play," states Valentine. J.V. was the next obvious choice but Valentine along with his Sexton coaches decided it would be better to leave a talented freshman group together to gel and build chemistry that will hopefully pay off down the road.

Sexton's freshman team is off to a 5-0 start and the Big Reds have just been plowing through the competition. "We are pretty good, we were real good in junior high, and that's why I wanted to play with these guys on the freshman team," says Valentine. In five games Sexton has outscored their opponents 211-12. "They have a bunch of guys that the coaches were going to move up to varsity back in August, but they all decided to stay down. A couple weeks ago two of the lineman got sent up, and two of the receivers have a chance to be good, I mean really good," adds Drew Valentine, Denzel's older brother.

When you are blowing teams out with an average score of 42-2 it can't be a one man show, but it does start with the talented quarterback who put on a passing display in the pouring rain last week at Owosso. Valentine showed his arm strength by connecting on the deep ball as well as displaying his accuracy on slant routs and other short passes. In five games Valentine has passed for close to 700 yards and 11 touchdowns to go with 3 rushing scores. Oh, and did I mention that Valentine has yet to take a snap in the second half of any game!

Valentine has been busy this fall. Besides playing football and trying to get used to high school life, Valentine's basketball recruitment has also picked up. He recently took unofficial visits to Michigan State and Notre Dame. And while college basketball coaches are aware of Denzel, I don't think it will be long before college football coaches start showing the same interest.

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