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Tanner Scales, defense, Virginia
It has become increasingly difficult for rookies to start down low at close defense for premier programs. High-tech slide and recovery schemes are difficult to master. College-level attackmen are fast, powerful and savvy without the ball. The defensive position equates to offensive line in football in that it's become very developmental.
Lockdown artist Scales starts for coach Dom Starsia, above, and the Cavaliers (5-4), who host Maryland at 2 p.m. Saturday. At 6-2 and 200 pounds, the lefty from Regis Jesuit High in Aurora, Colo., can carve up ball carriers. "Scales is strong and athletic, a throwback in aggressiveness who throws checks — which was a positive in the Cornell game [a 12-11 Big Red win March 9]," ESPN's Eamon McAnaney said. Scales has made nine appearances, accumulating 20 ground balls and 17 caused turnovers.
March 21, 2010