Ashworth wants to battle for the future

Senior wide receiver Luke Ashworth will be playing his last game as a Cougar this Saturday against UTEP in the New Mexico Bowl. However, when he plays against the Miners, he will be doing so for BYU's younger players.

Luke Ashworth was considered one of the best players in the state of Utah while in high school. He played on a Timpview team that was loaded with talent, but no one played as many positions as he did. He received playing time as a running back, safety and linebacker, but excelled mostly at the receiver position. He was an All-State wide receiver and caught 62 passes for over 1,100 yards and 17 touchdowns as a senior.

Although his Cougar career hasn't panned out as one would have projected based on his high school accomplishments, Ashworth has focused his efforts one last time for one purpose.

"I just definitely want to end the season right," he said. "I think with the younger guys, I think a win against UTEP in the New Mexico Bowl will help build some momentum for next season. That's what I want to do mostly now. I just want to do as best as I can one last time for these younger guys on the team, so I can help set them up for the future …

"Just being one of the few seniors on the team, I hope that I've been able to help with the momentum and stuff. I know there have been some personal struggles here and there and I've been battling some health issues as well this season. I just tried to overcome some of those obstacles and know this is my last year here. Things might not have gone the way I had hoped, but I wanted to give it my all for the younger guys on the team. I look at the fact that we are now playing UTEP in a bowl game as an accomplishment that this team can build on for next season."

Ashworth, who was also recruited by Arizona State and Stanford for baseball, was one of the more talented wide receivers during BYU's 2004 summer camp. It was there that he competed alongside the likes of eventual BYU great Austin Collie. Although Ashworth's talents were on par with that of Collie during that time, dropped balls and nagging injuries plagued him throughout his Cougar career. The former Timpview star is even still battling with an injury now.

"I'm just excited to play one last time and hopefully I can be healthy this week," Ashworth said. "I tore a few ligaments in the first half of the Utah game, so they'll probably just numb it up a little bit before the game. I'm just going to give it all that I have and lay it all out there. It'll be fun playing with all of my teammates one last time."

Ashworth is confident about the Cougars going up against UTEP in the New Mexico Bowl.

"I think we're going to do well," Ashworth said. "Jake [Heaps] has gotten a lot better as the year's gone on and he's improved a lot, and you can just see how much he's grown as a person and as a quarterback. He's going to be really good. He's only going to get better and the sky's the limit for him and this team in the future. He's a lot better in reading defenses now and knowing how we like to attack certain defensive schemes within our routes, so I think Jake's going to be fine heading into the UTEP game."

While Heaps has mentioned that he wants to play this season's last game in honor of the seniors, it's readily apparent that Ashworth wants to reciprocate the effort.

"It always helps when you win the bowl game because you get excited about looking forward to next season," Ashworth said. "That's kind of how it was in past years after we won games in the Las Vegas Bowl. I think for some of us older guys, we're going to do everything that we can to try and set up the younger guys for the future as best we can. It's what I'm going to play for."

Ashworth expressed confidence in the direction that BYU is headed after this season.

"I think this team is in really good hands and the future is bright for this team," Ashworth said. "It's going to be fun watching them get better and better as this team goes independent after this season. Right now we're focusing on the UTEP game and they have a really good team. It's going to be good being able to play with these guys one last time."

As for Ashworth's future, he's still in the process of figuring it out.

"Well, I'm not actually too sure yet," said Ashworth regarding what he will do after he graduates. "I'm going to try and do the Pro Day and try and make a team for a little bit. I would like to try and play in the NFL if I can and see how things go from there. That's kind of the plan right now and I guess we'll see how it goes."

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