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Finding a legitimate quarterback is the goal of any team hoping to reach the top ranks of college football.
The Longhorns had a stretch of elite quarterbacks with Vince Young and Colt McCoy. In fact, one could argue Young and McCoy are two of the greatest quarterbacks in the history of college football. And Texas had the two back-to-back.
But Texas has been without a consistent quarterback option since McCoy departed the 40 acres following the 2009 season.
Enter David Ash, a veteran quarterback from Belton, Texas, who has had an up-and-down career in Austin.
The roller coaster began during his true freshman season. Ash received very few reps during summer workouts and fully expected to redshirt in 2011.
That never happened.
"I remember my role as a freshman was to come in to 7-on-7 and beg for a rep," Ash said. "I really didn't expect to play until I was a redshirt sophomore."
Ash was thrown into the mix early and often during his debut season as a Longhorn. The outcome was decent, but nothing stellar. The same could be said for his sophomore season. Ash flashed signs of greatness, but also struggled in big games.
The bar was set high for Ash's junior year. Unfortunately, he never had the opportunity to reach his potential due to a season-ending head injury suffered in Week 2 of the 2013 season.
You may be thinking, how can a player who has struggled and has been inconsistent bring Texas back to glory? The answer to that question is simple: Texas needs Ash to be the guy so it will not be faced with another Ash-like situation.
Quarterbacks almost always need a redshirt season. Texas has not been able to redshirt any of its eventual starting quarterbacks since McCoy in 2005. The last thing Texas needs is to burn the redshirt of another talented quarterback only for him to receive limited snaps in garbage time.
Ash's progress could determine if Texas can redshirt incoming freshman Jerrod Heard, and could ultimately decide whether Texas can return to being the top college football program in the near future.