Schools Plenty Interested; BYU is Ashworth's First

BYU is the first major college to offer a football scholarship to a Utah linebacker who led his team in sacks two years ago as a sophomore – the same year his senior teammates <b>Brian Soi</b> and <b>Dallas Reynolds</b> were being nationally recruited by dozens of schools.

Luke Ashworth, a 6-2, 195 pound power hitter from Timpview High has continued to turn heads since his sophomore campaign when he registered a team-leading 10 sacks. One of the top Div. 1 recruits in Utah, he currently bench presses 285 pounds, has a 450-pound squat and runs a 4.5/40.

Both Soi and Reynolds eventually signed with BYU. Soi, a Hot 100 national recruit and BYU's top defensive signee, never qualified and transferred to Utah State.

Ashworth is being heavily recruited as a two-sport star – football and baseball – primarily by BYU and Stanford. Other colleges recruiting him for football include Oregon, Arizona State, UCLA, Stanford, Utah, Army, Colorado, Air Force and UNLV. "Those are the major ones, anyway."

"I got a phone call from coach (Gary) Crowton about a week ago. He said he is excited to have me, if I'm going to go there, because he's offering me," an excited Ashworth told "He said that he wants to meet with me and my parents and he wants to talk with us about the scholarship offer. I think they're (BYU coaches) awesome."

He added: "I talked to (defensive coordinator Bronco) Mendenhall and he is really a cool guy. He expects a lot out of you and that is what I like. I just feel that, if I'm being considered, he (Mendenhall) is going to expect the best out of me and that's what I want to give. It just makes me want to work a lot harder and stuff."

Because of his athleticism, Ashworth also lined up as a wide receiver starter last season and registered 480 yards on 26 receptions and five touchdowns. He wasn't that impressed with himself, but "I think I did pretty good. He's (quarterback Stephen Covey) a running quarterback so we have a running option. It's kind of hard to get me the ball a lot. I thought I did all right, but I think I could have done a whole lot better. Hopefully this year I can make some good plays. I was a little disappointed," he said.

To utilize his speed and provide even more "touches," Timpview head coach Van Orden also used Ashworth in the backfield as a running back.

"I'm not sure what my total yards were, but I averaged 7.5 yards a carry. I think I had five touchdowns overall, but two of them were running and the others were from receiving," said Ashworth.

Defensively, opposing teams keyed in on Ashworth and threw or ran away from his side of the field. "Everyone just ran to the other side of the field, away from me." Still, he still managed "around five sacks and 40 solo tackles."

Not only is Ashworth a versatile football player, but he is also lighting it up on the baseball diamond as well. "BYU might be offering me for that (baseball) also. It's the same with Stanford. They might be offering me for baseball, but it's not for sure yet. I'm going to their camp this summer and they are going to tell me then. I'm going to both Stanford and BYU's camps."

When asked what sport he favored, he said, "I haven't really decided yet. I love them both, but I have a lot better stats for baseball. I love them both and I'm just seeing if I'm going to be offered or not. I think I'll most likely play football, though," Ashworth said. "I've actually lost some weight since baseball, but before baseball, I weighed around 200 pounds. I'm starting to gain it back now. I ran 4.5 in the summer (2003), but I'm pretty sure I'm a bit faster now."

As to declaring a college favorite, he added, "I'm just trying to keep my options open a little bit. I want to play either wide receiver or safety. That's what I see myself playing in college."

During the BYU camp last summer, Ashworth made what was probably the most impressive catch of two weeks of camp, according to TBS managing editor Brandon Gurney. "Beating his defender off the line, a speeding Ashworth turned to find a Jacob Bower bomb that appeared to be overthrown. He turned on the jets to make the reception at full speed just a few feet from a tree it seemed apparent he was got to run into."

During that BYU camp, Ashworth ran a 4.6 forty flat, but felt he could have done better. "I had to run it barefooted because we were supposed to bring shoes with spikes. I didn't have good shoes on so I ran it barefooted. I thought I could have done better. I ran a 4.5 a week before the BYU camp with spikes on. One of the track coaches timed me."

Ashworth concluded he has strong thoughts about serving an LDS mission. "I'm really thinking about it. It's either going to be when I'm 19 or … I'm not sure, really. I've been trying to decide."

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