QB David Ash
Ash is in his fourth year at the University of Texas, and he's never been needed more to perform like a fourth-year QB than right now.
After missing 10 games last year due to a head injury, there is a twinge of cringe about Ash returning to the football field knowing how a single, serious head injury can come back to haunt someone later in life. But doctors have cleared Ash to return to the field, and he has told his family he wants to finish his career at Texas.
Ash seems to be thriving under new QB coach Shawn Watson and has the skill set to operate Watson's pro-style, West Coast passing attack. The plan is to use a lot of misdirection, including a lot of nakeds, boots and rollouts in the passing game, which should help hide any deficiencies on the offensive line. And Ash has the athletic ability to execute such a plan.
No Texas fan wants to think about the alternative if Ash goes down again this season, so when fingers aren't forming the Horns, they are undoubtedly crossed for Ash to start all 13 games this season. If that happens, some really good things could happen for Texas this season. His importance to 2014 is the reason Ash comes in at No. 1 of the top 22 players who hold the key to Texas' success this year.
QB David Ash
If you don’t think Ash is the most important player to Texas’ success this season just think about what life would be like without him.
Go ahead, I’ll give you a second.
Scary thought, huh?
No offense to Tyrone Swoopes, who is making strides this fall, but the gap between he and Ash is as vast as the plains of West Texas.
When healthy, Ash is one of the best quarterbacks in the Big 12. Easily. He threw for 760 yards and seven touchdowns (two interceptions) in the first three games before missing the final 10 games of 2013 with concussion-like symptoms.
He showed what he could do in 2012 when healthy by ranking 15th in the FBS in completion percentage (67.3) and 21st in passing efficiency (153.28).
There is a different feel with Ash this season. He had people telling him he should risk a return to football. The thought of quitting did cross his mind.
He came back because he didn’t want to have any regrets. And he shouldn’t if this offensive line keeps him upright.