We've got 58 days until kickoff...so you know what that means:
It's Ash Wednesday.
#58, Robert Ash, Senior, DT
Weight: 278 lbs.
High School: Cosumnes Oaks High School, Elk Grove, CA
How'd he get to The BlueTM?
Ash was a standout defensive end at Cosumnes Oaks High and was a two-time all-conference first-teamer. Ash's senior year saw him land second-team All-Sac County honors after he finished the year with 41 tackles, 10 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, and a blocked field goal. Besides his Bronco offer, Ash also drew offers from Cal Poly, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon State, San Diego State, UCLA, Washington, and Washington State.
No relation to Smash Williams (Go Dillon Panthers!)
It's my son Trace's 8th birthday today, so I asked him to provide today's look-alike. He said Ash looked like Falcon from Marvel Comics. He could've done worse.
Played in 12 games for the Broncos in 2014. Registered a sack against UConn and two solo tackles in the 2014 Fiesta Bowl. Played in six games for the Broncos in 2013, notching 9 tackles (1.5 for loss) and a sack. Two time first team all-conference selection at COHS. Two year varsity captain at Cosumnes Oaks.
It's been an interesting few years for Robert Ash. He came in as a highly-touted D-lineman in the—some say—cursed class of 2011 (just 8 of the 21 players in that class graduated, left early for the NFL, or are still on the roster). He came in alongside another highly-touted DT, Jeff Worthy...who was dismissed from the team and is now dodging spittle from RichRod in Arizona. At one point, I envisioned Ash and Worthy to be the next Winn and Baker—a nigh impenetrable duo in the middle of the line. Well, things don't always work out just as you planned, but that doesn't mean that Ash's career has been a disappointment...it's been different, sure...but frankly, I'm as proud of Ash's accomplishments during a trying 4 1/2 years as I am of almost anyone else on the roster.
Ash played so sparingly as a freshman, that many forgot he was even on the team...then a short-lived switch to the O-line made some think that the coaches had given up on him at DT and had relegated him to depth chart filler on offense. Honestly, at that point, I didn't really expect Ash to stick around. Maybe I'd been jaded by the rest of the 2011 class, that virtually eroded before our very eyes. But as a sophomore, Ash got some more reps at DT—appearing in 6 games with 9 tackles (1.5 for loss) and a sack. He wasn't setting the world ablaze, but his improvement by year's end was palpable. It might surprise you to know that Ash actually made fewer tackles last year as a junior than he did as a sophomore, despite appearing in double the amount of games. It surprised me because last year I really started to notice Ash when he was in the lineup. Yeah, he might have made a few more high profile tackles too...but when Ash was in the lineup last season it was clear that he was being disruptive to opposing offenses—even if he wasn't racking up the tackles. This season, I'm actually excited to see what Ash will do for his finale. All-MWC honors are probably a long shot, but I can see Ash continuing his improvement in Fall Camp and becoming a reliable utility player in the D-line rotation. This year could be epic for the Bronco front four, and though Ash might not get the headlines, he'll be a big part of it.
Is he on Twitter?
I'm telling yall... That flipflop bandit went ham in McCall— OG Bobby Johnson (@heyyoitsrobb) July 6, 2015
Completely made up fact
If Robert ever has a son, he's vowed to name him "Jack" so he learns a valuable (and constant) lesson in humility...and puns.