"I sat down and talked to my parents about it, and kind of looked at things," said Jason Scales in an interview with CN Saturday morning. "I found it to be the best fit for me, both academically and playing football. I like the coaches and what they have to offer there. Even though they're having a down season right now, I still like all of the things about them."
Scales chose ISU over scholarship offers from Iowa, Kansas and Northwestern. The coveted tailback Scales finished his senior season with 2,109 rushing yards and 32 scores. After back-to-back 2,000-yard seasons, he put a wrap on his career ranked sixth on Iowa's all-time rushing list with 6,050 yards and 77 rushing touchdowns in three seasons.
But even more important was that his team, top-ranked Valley, won another state title.
"I'm excited that we were able to come out and play well against a good Cedar Rapids Washington team, and were able to get the win," Scales said. "I think I did OK. The most important thing is that we won and are state champions. Not many teams get the opportunity to play for a state championship or win one, and we were able to do it two years in a row. It's an excellent feeling."
Even more impressive was that the Tigers beat a Washington team stacked full of Division I prospects. Wide receiver Adrian Arrington, quarterback Warren Suess and linebacker Maurice Cantrell all are entertaining scholarship offers, and a few other teammates may sign on as well.
Scales plans to enroll at ISU for second semester classes and will be eligible to participate in spring ball. He walks into a position that could afford him some opportunities early, as the Cyclones will have just Stevie Hicks and Brian Thompson returning as scholarship backs.
"We'll have to see what happens when I get there and once I start practicing," Scales said of his expectations. "They have some other players there that have been there for a while, so we'll have to see how it works out over time. It will allow me the chance to get exposed to the form of offense that Iowa State has and the things they do. It gives me a chance to get started and learn it, because it's a lot more complex than what I have done in high school. It will take a little while to learn all of it.
"I just want to come in and try to help out the Cyclone football team in any way that I can. If that means running scout team or whatever, that's all I want to do. I want to help them win. Plus, I'm getting a head start on college and on my schoolwork, and I can spread out my course load. I plan on also taking some summer classes."
Cyclone running backs coach Tony Alford was Scales' main recruiter and played a huge role in his commitment to ISU.
"I think he did a good job," Scales said. "He's a really exciting coach. He's an energetic coach and his passion for the game boils over to some of the players, too."
Scales is the Cyclones' 12th commitment for the Class of 2004, and first from a running back prospect.