PLAYER PROFILE: Quin Ashley, QB, True Freshman
When Quin Ashley signed with the Idaho Vandals this past spring out of Paris High School in Texas, his former coach, Travis Smith, had this to say about his former star athlete:
"It will be hard to replace his intangibles, what he brings to the team," coach Smith told Scout. "Athletic skills and abilities aside, he will be tough to replace."How prophetic.
A good student who comes from a strong family background, coach Smith had more to say. "He's very business-like in his approach to the game…he studies a lot of film. He's very professional in how he does things. He will be a good businessman someday, and he will be one of the team leaders [at Idaho]. Maybe not this year, but eventually he will. He is a born leader."
In just a little over 12 weeks, Quin has gone from being a true freshman fighting for a depth chart spot, to splitting time with fifth year senior Brian Nooy as Idaho's top quarterback each of the last three weeks. Granted, Quin's move to quarterback was fueled by an injury to redshirt freshman starter Nathan Enderle four weeks ago (Enderle has been out since the Hawaii game). But Quin has stepped up to the challenge, earning increased playing time each of the past three weeks as he works to absorb more of the Vandal offense with each snap.
Originally committed to TCU, Ashley changed his mind and joined fellow true freshman and Paris High School teammate Dewey Hale in making the trek to Idaho. Both athletes have played major roles this fall. Hale has been Idaho's top kick returner all season - amassing 600 yards and a 23 yards-per-return average - while Ashley battled a preseason injury to emerge as a special teams force and backup safety turned quarterback.
They are part of a massive freshman class at Idaho getting significant playing time all over the depth chart for the Vandals.
A dual-threat quarterback at Paris High, Quin directed a remarkably balanced offensive attack. On the ground he rushed for 902 yards and 17 touchdowns on the year, including a sprint of 68 yards and an average of 6.18 yards per carry. Through the air he completed 48% of his passes (69 of 143 attempts) for 993 yards, with 11 touchdowns and just five picks. The effort earned him unanimous First Team All-District honors, as well as being named to the All-Red River Valley First Team and honorable mention on the All Smoaky.com Team.
Since moving to QB four weeks ago at Idaho and doing all of his learning under fire, he has gained 108 yards rushing (4.9 yards per carry, fourth on the Vandal team), and 92 yards on 8-of-19 passing with one touchdown and no interceptions.
When the season began, Idaho wide receivers coach Luther Carr referred to Quin as a "slash", adding that he was a special athlete that could play "a lot of positions."
Will the move to QB be permanent? Only time will tell. But it has been interesting the past three weeks to watch the versatile attack he brings to the Vandal offense.