If there's one position that could fluctuate one way or another, it's Texas's quarterback spot.
How so? If David Ash can come back at 100 percent, and Jerrod Heard remains committed, the Longhorns have both an outstanding present and future option at the position. And if Ash doesn't come back as strong, and Heard elects to go elsewhere, the Longhorns could really be hurting.
Let's start with Ash. The current Texas staff thought Ash had the ability to be a top-15, or better, quarterback in college football this season. And that might not have been a huge stretch, as Ash finished in the nation's top 25 in passer rating in his first full year as a starter last season, and he had a hot start to the 2013 year as well. Ash had a 156.25 passer rating, which would have put him second among Big 12 signal callers, behind only Baylor's Bryce Petty. And keep in mind that 1) Ash's passer rating was hurt somewhat by playing through a concussion against BYU and 2) Ash's development as a runner isn't accounted in that stat line.
The good news is that Ash should get another season for his missed 2013, meaning he could be the Longhorn quarterback not just for 2014, but also for 2015 as well. That would give Texas a chance to bring along Tyrone Swoopes and Jerrod Heard more slowly and allow them to develop. And his skill set is such that he'd be a good fit in just about any kind of offense.
Swoopes played some as a true freshman, something that the coaches wanted before the season to add an extra year's distance between Swoopes and Heard. During that limited time over five games, Swoopes threw the ball just seven times, completing four of those passes for 18 yards. And he also ran 12 times for 41 yards and a touchdown. He has the size, arm strength and athleticism to be a potential difference-maker, but needs to become more consistent.
He'll have to be to hold off Heard, if Heard makes it to Austin. Heard passed for more than 2,000 yards and rushed for more than 2,000 yards in each of the last two seasons at Denton Guyer, including 2,136 passing yards and a career-high 2,161 rushing yards this year. He had 52 combined passing and rushing touchdowns as a junior and 49 scores as a senior.
Heard also has that 'it' factor that so many people look for in a quarterback. And he said he's expecting to ink with the Longhorns even with the coaching change. But until a high-schooler signs on the dotted line, you're not entirely sure.
Texas could use another player in the pool, especially a graduate transfer given that this year's a poor year for junior college signal callers. But if Ash comes back at full speed and Heard, as expected, signs with the Longhorns, Texas could have a pretty strong quarterback situation moving forward.