Resilient Carrington Valentine Stepped Up to Shut Out Youngstown State

On3 imageby:Nick Roush09/17/22

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Carrington Valentine, the Wildcat who preserved the shut out against Youngstown State, did not even know what was at stake when the pass was heading toward him in the Kentucky end zone.

“Personally, I didn’t even know,” the third-year cornerback from Cincinnati said after the game. “I’m out there and I kind of lose myself in the game. I just tried to not give up a touchdown. It’s always the defense’s goal. I wasn’t really too worried about the shut out part because I kind of just wanted to win my one-on-one. I came away with the interception.”

This one-on-one matchup meant a little more for Valentine. It used to happen frequently on the practice fields at the Joe Craft Football Training Facility back in 2020. Now wide Bryce Oliver was lining up across from Valentine in a Youngstown State uniform. Valentine took it personally.

“A little bit. I haven’t seen Bryce since my freshman year and he hasn’t seen me since then, so he didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t know what to expect. I definitely had a little chip on my shoulder knowing it was him. We got a little relationship when he was here. There definitely was a back and forth going on out there,” he said behind a laugh.

The former teammates were jawing in-between plays. Youngstown State continued to call Oliver’s number, dialing up fades for contested jump balls. After officials flagged Valentine for pass interference in the end zone, he backed up the trash talk and tipped the ball into his own hands for his first career interception.

carrington valentine
Photo by Dr. Michael Huang | Kentucky Sports Radio

That was not the first touchdown-saving play Valentine made against the Penguins. On fourth and long in no man’s land, Youngstown State took a shot to their best receiver. A well-thrown pass, it looked like Oliver was going to reel in the 40-yard touchdown. Valentine did not give up on the play and ripped the ball free from Oliver’s hands as he hit the Kroger Field turf.

“It’s kind of who he is,” said Mark Stoops. “He’s a super competitive guy. You know, just really tough. He got beat on one and we were talking on the sideline about a technique issue. He tried to really be aggressive. He used momentum against him, gave up that one shot. But he came back with a great response, comes right back and he did that. He’s a very competitive young man.”

Carrington Valentine has been on the receiving end of plenty of criticism from the BBN. Through it all, he perseveres. That resiliency was on full display in the Wildcats’ win over Youngstown State.

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2024-04-13