Ashley, Scout.com No. 58 running back prospect nationally, holds offers from Louisville, Virginia, Illinois, West Virginia, Boston College, Northwestern and Wisconsin. The Cardinals, Cavalier's and Illini appear in the best shape at the moment.
At 5-foot-9, 195 pounds, some scout question Ashley's size. It's a question that Ashley's coach, Steve Spect, doesn't quite fathom.
"It all depends what (colleges) are looking for," Spect said. "Some coaches have come in here and talked about his size and my response has always been, ‘I don't remember Barry Sanders or Emmitt Smith being all that big.' I don't understand the size (thng) to it unless you're worried about (him) stepping up and blocking in pass protection all the time. If you want that out of Darius, no he's not going to be a pass protector, he's a running back. He's not a burner and he's not going to clock a 4.3, but you watch him on film and he's never been caught. And we play the best high school competition.
Spect has told Ashley that's it's important that he find the ‘right' fit at the next level. A long time friend of Louisville defensive coordinator Mike Cassity, Spect thinks Louisville would be an ideal fit for Ashley.
"As I told Darius, he's got to find the (right) fit," Spect said. "A lot of system's he's not going to be a fit for what they're looking for. I think he's taylor-made for a spread offense that likes to put the back in the slot some and throw to him out of the backfield because he can run and he can catch it. He can do it all. That's why I think Louisville would be a great fit for a kid like Darius. He's so versatile and as much as they like to spread that offense and throw the ball around, he'd be a good fit there."
Ashley made an unofficial visit to Louisville last spring and finding a school relatively close to home could factor into the star running back's decision.
"I know he'd like to be within driving distance for his mom and grandma and be close to home from that perspective, but I don't think that's going to be a deciding (factor) for him ultimately," Spect said. "He's got to feel comfortable with the staff, players and the system."
Ashley was injured toward the end of last season, but Spect says he's now at 100 percent. That's why coach is expecting a huge year out of player.
"He's doing great," Spect said. "He had a bum ankle at the end of last year, but he's healed and he looks like the old Darius Ashley. The Darius Ashley that was beat up and battered last year was pretty damn good too. He looks good. He looks real smooth and he's making real good cuts again. He looks like a senior with an awful lot of talent."
What does Ashley bring to the field for St. Xavier?
"He's our guy. Everybody knows that I'm an I-formation guy and I'm going to give the ball to the tailback 30 times again. He makes us go," said Spect. "He is the guy that makes things happen for us. The thing that sets Darius apart is his balance. He's just incredibly balanced and I've never seen him take a shot from a tackler. He's always delivering a (blow) or bouncing off a tackler. I've never seen him take a hit and get driven back. He's a pretty special back."