Cavalier Corner

December 2014

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Page 52 of 62

Though their arrivals in Charlottesville were separated by a year, third-year defensive end Eli Harold and second-year outside linebacker Max Valles committed to Mike London's program about two months apart. Harold, a Virginia Beach native who starred at Ocean Lakes, had the kind of recruitment most kids dream of, while Valles didn't exactly get a great deal of buzz out of St. Joseph High School in the Garden State. But when defensive coordinator Jon Tenuta installed his aggressive, attacking 4-3 scheme last year, the pair found themselves on the same side of the ball in very similar roles. And now, they often meet at the quarterback. "We have a nice, friendly rivalry," Valles said with a laugh. "Right now, we both have a defensive touchdown. I don't know what the locker room will be like if one of us gets another one and the other doesn't." At 6-5, 240 pounds, Valles had 7.5 tackles for loss through Virginia's game at Georgia Tech Nov. 1, as well as five sacks, eight passes broken up and one interception that he returned 35 yards for a score in UVa's 24-19 win over Pitt Oct. 4. Harold, meanwhile, is a 6-4, 250-pounder who led the team in both tackles for loss (13) and sacks (seven), as well as adding a fumble recovery and return for a score against Richmond earlier in the year. After that game in Atlanta, Harold was second in the ACC (tied for 19th nationally) in sacks while Valles was tied for ninth in the league. Harold also led the conference and was 17th in the country in tackles for loss and had moved into 10th place on UVa's all-time list for that category. A 15-year-old when his mother passed away from pancreatic cancer, Harold has matured a great deal since he chose the Cavaliers in August 2011, perhaps at no time more than the past two years helping to lead UVa's defense. "When my mother passed, I just decided I had to go all out even more and go a little bit further, do more than is required," he said. "When she passed, I felt like I had to do more each and every day and be a better player, a better son, a better uncle, a bet- ter brother. BY BRAD FRANKLIN O N ONE SIDE, THERE IS A FOUR-STAR DEFENSIVE end who was a top-50 recruit nationally and chose UVa over a host of powerhouses. On the other, there is a two-star tight end from New Jersey who had offers from four "Power Five" schools total. It might seem somewhat random, but that's the background of a dynamic duo that's wreaking havoc for the Cavalier defense this season. UVa's Defense Has Been Bolstered By The Tandem Of Eli Harold And Max Valles

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