Verdict On Ashley: USC

Minnesota defensive lineman Walker Ashley made it official early this morning when he signed a letter-of-intent to attend USC, according to a secretary at the school.

Eden Prairie, Minn., defensive tackle Walker Ashley made his college choice known early this morning when he signed a letter-of-intent for USC.

He picked the USC over Ohio State, Minnesota and Penn State.

Ashley was a three-year starter at Eden Prairie, 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. This year, 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.

His father, Walker Lee Ashley, was a defensive end/linebacker for the Nittany Lions from 1979-82. He helped PSU claim its first national championship in 1982 before going on to a seven-year career with the NFL's Minnesota Vikings.

Ashley is rated as the No. 19 defensive tackle prospect in the nation by and as Minnesota's No. 3 overall prospect. SuperPrep ranks him as the No. 1 player in Minnesota, the No. 17 player in the Midwest. He is also a SuperPrep All-American, ranking as the No. 23 defensive lineman in the country.

He holds a 2.6 GPA and scored a 19 on the ACT. He was debating between Ohio State, USC, Minnesota and Penn State.

Here are comments from recruiting editor Duane Long on Ashley: "I think wherever he goes he is going in as a defensive tackle. But, if he would allow the move, the position he should embrace is maybe on the offensive line. He may play on Sundays as a defensive tackle, but I think he would probably play on Sundays as an offensive tackle, if that makes any sense. He is a big, athletic kid. He can run and move and slide. I think he'd be a good pass protector."

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