Detroit Crockett's Ashton Gaines had one of the most impressive statistical seasons in the state this past fall. The 6-0, 170-pound prospect starred on both offense and defense for the Rockets, accumulating 58 tackles and nine interceptions as a cornerback and catching 56 passes for 817 yards and seven touchdowns as a receiver.
Gaines did not have to wait long after his junior season finished to collect his first scholarship offer. Iowa assistant coach Erik Campbell sent Gaines an offer from the Hawkeyes within weeks of his season's conclusion.
"I got the offer in December, and it was kind of shocking," Gaines said. "When I got it in the mail, I went to [Detroit Crockett] Coach [Rod] Oden and asked, 'Is this official?" He called Coach Campbell and Coach Campbell told him it was the real deal, so I was excited.
"If I had not received an offer from [Iowa], I'd still be trying to go to that school. If I do not get another offer, I'd be happy with where I am at right now."
Since receiving the offer from Iowa, Gaines has continued to maintain contact with their coaching staff. He was unable to make it to the Hawkeye's Junior Day because he did not have a ride there, but he talks frequently with Coach Campbell.
"Coach Campbell, the way he is playing the game is good," Gaines said. "He's just telling me about their program and told me that it's a pro-style offense. He talked about how the pro-style offense translates to the NFL, and it made a lot of sense. My dream is to play in the NFL and if pro scouts see that I am doing good in a pro-style offense, that will be good."
Although Gaines would be content were he not to receive another offer, his family has encouraged him to continue being patient and keeping his options open.
"Iowa is up there, but if the right offer comes around I'd have to really sit down with my mom and my brothers and think about it," Gaines said. "It won't really be about the athletics; it will basically be about the academics. School has got to come first and when I think about it, it's going to come down to what's going to be the best situation graduating from that college."
In the coming weeks, Gaines is planning to attend Junior Days at Cincinnati, Toledo and Michigan. Coaches from other staffs were also through the school in the month of January.
"A couple weeks ago the Wisconsin coaches and Cincinnati coaches came down here," Gaines said. "I missed the Cincinnati coach, but I saw the Wisconsin coach talking to Coach Oden. Coach Oden told me a little bit about their program."
From a coach's standpoint, the biggest question with Gaines may be what side of the football he will play on in college. His statistics are equally impressive at wide receiver and cornerback, and Gaines does not have a strong preference either way.
"I really think that I am a better player offensive-wise. I like to be that go-to guy," Gaines said. "But I think that me being a six-foot corner or safety, that would give me a good chance to go to a good school or the NFL. When I look at the NFL there are not too many six-foot corners, so when it really comes down to it, it doesn't really matter to me."