by Mike Held
Mark me as sold: I’m an Ashton believer. I knew he was going to be good, but I wasn’t entirely sure how we’d use him in this system we have. Especially with the breakout year that Ryan Nassib is having, Ashton’s role may seem diminished. But hear this: I don’t know if I ever want him taking a snap at quarterback this season.
I have a couple of friends who went to the same high school as Ashton: Rush-Henrietta High School outside of Rochester, New York. These guys were hyped when Ashton finally got into the Northwestern game early on in the second half. They got excited when they saw him, which prompted me to ask a few questions. Not about his quarterbacking skills, I knew those were there, he lead his team to a New York State championship in his senior year, beating a very solid Troy team in the finals. I wanted more about his running and potentially receiving game. They said he could move, which I knew. They were, however, skeptical about his hands. When I asked “How are his hands?”, the reply was “Well, he has them.”
When Ashton finally took the field, he made a few RECEIVING plays. This is a whole new element. Not only do we have a solid passing and running QB, but one who can catch? It’s official. I’m drinking the Ashton Broyld Kool-aid.
This season, we don’t need passing game help. Ryan Nassib is having a really, really solid year, and is playing his way up in the eyes of NFL scouts. Ashton just doesn’t fit into the passing game this year. This year, we’re clearly a pass first, run second offense. The main reason for the weakened running game is our lack of running back (we have hope in Tyson-Prince Gulley, more on him at a later date). But here’s the thing, we’re not weak at running back! We have this all purpose back in Ashton. 6’4, 240? Perfect! And he can (seemingly) catch too! Throw that man in the starting lineup!
And don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying he won’t get some snaps in a wildcat/triple option sort of formation at quarterback. I’m saying we don’t need it.
I end this on a quote from Patrick Henry “Give me Ashton, or give me death!” A bit extreme, sure, but Syracuse, despite being considered the best 0-2 team, can always use the spark that Ashton may provide. Give him a chance, line him up, see what the kid can do.