Versatility key for Ashcraft

The Texas Longhorns have four offensive linemen in the 2009 class and three of them are taking part in the ESPN/Under Armour All-Star Sunday night. In practices this week, Thomas Ashcraft has been the most versatile lineman on the black team taking snaps at left tackle and left guard. For the 6-4, 300-pounder, versatility is the key when taking a look at the future.

When talking about Thomas Ashcraft, the word versatility is often used. As a sophomore on the Cedar Hill Longhorns 5A state title team, the 6-4, 300-pounder played left guard and dominated as a run blocker. As a junior and senior, Ashcraft played left tackle lining up next to junior guard Adam Shead to form a powerful duo.

In practice this week in Orlando for the ESPN/Under Armour game, the spring enrollee has split time between left tackle and left guard. On Wednesday after practice, Ashcraft talked about the honor of being picked for the prestigious game and his expectations.

"It's an honor to be selected to the game," Ashcraft said. "There are a lot of great players out here. It's great competition to get ready for the next level. Going against the best of the best is great. I've just got to work hard in practice. It's not really learning plays, but getting back used to being at guard and trying to work on my technique more at tackle. Just getting the feel back," Ashcraft added.

As is the case with this week's all-star game, the Texas Longhorns will try the #124 prospect in the 2009 class at both guard and tackle. Ashcraft doesn't care where he plays and says being one of the top five linemen is the key to get on the field.

"I think I will play tackle and guard when I get there January 16. Probably both sides too. The best five lineman are going to play, so wherever you fit in is where you will play," Ashcraft said.

With about three months until spring practice at Texas, Ashcraft already has goals in mind as well as understanding of what he has to work on technique-wise to prepare.

"My goals are pretty much to prepare myself for the season. I'm not going in just assuming I'll get some playing time, but I'm going to work towards it and just see what happens and work on my game. At guard, I think I need to get stronger to work against and assist on the big defensive tackles. At tackle, keeping my base square, not turning my shoulders and keeping my feet moving," Ashcraft said.

On January 16, Ashcraft will join former high school teammate Jarvis Humphrey at Texas. With two former Cedar Hill players at Texas, the question becomes who will be the next prospect from the talent rich school to pick the Longhorns. Ashcraft says he is doing his part to keep the pipeline going.

"Yeah, I'm working on guys. Most of the people that want to come already have their mind set on Texas, so they just tell me to tell the coaches they said hello. I try to get them to come to the junior days, go to a game or two and get them more attention," Ashcraft said.

Cedar Hill junior outside linebacker Aaron Benson will very likely be the next prospect from the south Dallas area school to be offered by Texas.

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