During the recent CaliFlorida Bowl, there wasn't a better or more consistent running back all week in practice than Los Angeles (Calif.) Venice's Kenny Ashley. Ashely took his first and only official visit this past weekend to Mississippi State and said he's eager to be a part of the program next fall.
Ashley, 5-8, 200 pounds was one of three players who really opened our eyes at how just good he was during the CaliFlorida Bowl practices, the other two players being DE Derek Simmons and LB Travis Goethel. Ashley was the quickest back on the team and is so strong and compact, he's almost impossible to get a real good shot at.
In our eyes, Ashley is a national level recruit meaning he's a player good enough to be recruited by schools outside his region. Ironically, very few schools in the West looked at Ashley with grade concerns being the primary reason why and a big reason for his early year commitment to the Bulldogs. Ashley has turned his academics around and is now looking good to go on the academic front.
"I just got a 21 on the ACT so I'm good to go," Ashley said. "Early on, it looked like I might need summer school but I've been taking care of my core classes and I'll be fully qualified by the end of our final semester here."
As for his visit, Ashley gave it nothing but pluses.
"I was there in April so I was already pretty familiar with everything," Ashley said. "It was still a great time, I was overwhelmed to tell you the truth. Brandon Hart was my host and he's a real cool guy. All the players were and I even got to spend some time with a few of my former teammates in Jimmy Miller and James Lewis. They love it there and hopefully we can build some kind of Cali pipeline going.
"I hung out a lot with Jamere Holland and I think he liked it a lot too. I didn't really try to recruit him or anything but I did tell him with his speed and ability to stretch the field at receiver and me running the ball, we could make a pretty good one-two punch there. I ate like crazy on the visit and saw a lot of the campus and the stadium. I talked with my position coach and they showed me what my role would be and how I would fit in to the offense.
"Saturday was nice, we all were shown around and it was easy to picture myself already there, a part of the team. I think I have a good shot to play early next season too. They're going to bring in a couple of other backs this year but no JC backs and they said they're going to let a lot of guys carry the ball, kind of a running back by committee thing so I'm looking forward to getting some carries next season.