Now, with fall camp underway and the season opener against Kentucky less than a month away, the 5'8, 180-pound Ashley still has a fairly steep learning curve.
"It's all new for him and Ashley still has some work to do," Louisville coach Charlie Strong said. "We're bringing him along slowly and giving him a chance to learn the defense."
Though Ashley, who has dropped 20 pounds since last season, still has a lot to learn about playing defense after finishing last season as the team's second-leading rusher, the talented sophomore has been a willing student since switching positions.
"The thing that stops me from being discouraged, which is every time I mess up or get beat on the play, I will go in and watch the film and know where I need to get better," Ashley said following a recent practice.
"It felt good to get [the interception], but I messed up a lot today," admitted Ashley. "So I'm more concerned about that to be honest. I've got to get in the film room to correct a lot of mistakes."
Since moving to defense, Ashley has spent considerable time learning his new position. There's been lots of work on the field, in the weight room and the film room and that hard work is starting to pay off.
"Probably just my knowledge of playing defensive back," Ashley said when asked in what areas he's made strides since spring practice. "Just being able to identify different things, tendencies of receivers and the offense out of certain formations. Things like that."
Louisville defensive coordinator Vance Bedford and secondary coach Larry Slade continue to work with Ashley to get him up to speed at his new position.
"[There's] a lot of fundamental stuff and technique [like] back peddling," Ashley said. "I still have a lot to learn defensively about offenses. It's mental stuff like that. I learned 100 percent more [since spring] and I feel like I need to learn 100 percent more to be honest."
Ashley, along with relative newcomers Terence Simien, Shenard Holton, and Hakeem Smith, could team with all-Big East corner Johnny Patrick to improve a secondary that finished second to last in the Big East in pass efficiency defense last season.
"There's a lot of young talent in the defensive backfield," Ashley said. "Johnny Patrick is a senior and a returning starter but there are a lot of young guys also. Terrence Simieon coming back from the injury is going to boost the defense a lot because he's a great football player."
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