Ashley Still Mulling Offers

Minnesota defensive lineman Walker Ashley visited Penn State over the weekend. He will decide between USC, Ohio State and Penn State on signing day. We caught up with Ashley for the latest.

Defensive lineman Walker Ashley of Eden Prairie, Minn., made an official visit to Penn State this past weekend.

"It was all right," Ashley said. "I had a good time with the coaches and meeting the players."

Ashley's father – Walker Lee Ashley – was a defensive end/linebacker for Penn State from 1979-82. Therefore, the younger Ashley knew a little something about the Nittany Lions and the PSU campus even before his visit.

"Yeah, I've been there a few times for unofficial visits and stuff," he said.

Ashley (6-4, 290, 4.8) is rated as the No. 21 defensive tackle prospect in the nation by and as Minnesota's No. 3 overall prospect.

He is considering USC, Ohio State and Penn State.

"Right now, I'd say USC has a slight lead over Ohio State," Ashley said. "And Penn State is third."

The opportunity to play as a freshman could factor into his decision.

"Yeah, because I do want to get some playing time next year," he said. "USC is graduating two defensive tackles, so I think I would have the chance to play there. I also think I would have a chance to play right away at Ohio State and Penn State."

Ashley will make his announcement on National Letter of Intent day, Feb. 2.

"I am going to have a press conference at my school and I also have something set up with Fox Sports Midwest that day where I am going to announce on TV," he said.

Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel made his in-house visit with Ashley two weeks ago.

"That went good," Ashley said. "I was kind of worried about the allegations, but he told me not to worry about that and everything would turn out fine. I believed everything he said – I don't feel that he lied to me. He cleared all of that up for me.

"It was a real good visit. He told me I am a big piece to the puzzle. Coach Tressel is a great guy."

USC coach Pete Carroll will make his in-house visit with Ashley Wednesday. With the Trojans already leading, it won't be surprising if Carroll lands his latest prize recruit.

Ashley was asked what exactly makes Carroll such a great recruiter.

"Part of it is just California," he said. "You go out to that visit and you are just in awe."

But there are several other schools in California, including one right across the street from USC. It must be more than the weather and scenery.

"Yeah, they have a good thing going right now," Ashley said. "They are going to be a national championship contender every year. And you could say the same thing about Ohio State. They weren't in it this year, but Coach Tressel makes it pretty clear that he wants to play for championships, and he has proven he will do that. USC is just on top right now and they could be there for a while."

Penn State coach Joe Paterno will make his in-house visit with Ashley Tuesday. The living legend is telling recruits they can expect him to stay at PSU for a while.

"He told me he's not going anywhere," Ashley said. "He said he intends to be there for at least the next four years."

Ashley was a three-year starter at Eden Prairie High School, helping his team win a state title as a sophomore in 2002. As a junior, he had 74 tackles, 10 sacks and four caused fumbles. As a senior in 2004, his team went 11-1. Ashley finished up with 89 tackles, 14 sacks, 24 tackles-for-loss and six fumbles caused. He also had a touchdown catch on offense. He was named the Minneapolis Star-Tribune metro player of the year.

Ashley, who benches 330 pounds, holds a 2.5 GPA and scored a 19 on the ACT.

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