Nick Ash, the 6-foot-5, 265-pound offensive lineman (tackle or guard) from Keller, Texas, says he grew up following Arizona as he was born in Tucson.
"I lived in Tucson for about seven years," Ash said. "I moved to Texas in 1998."
Ash still has family in Arizona. "I love Tucson," he said. "I have family there and love going back and visiting them. It's just a great atmosphere to be in.
"I also really like their style of offense," said Ash of the Wildcats' spread. "They run a Texas Tech-style and that's what we run at my high school. I'm pretty familiar with it."
But the Wildcats aren't the only Arizona school to catch Ash's eye. "I've also always liked Arizona State too," he stated. "Tempe is a nice area and I like how the Cardinals play there, so you can go watch an NFL team too. They have a really good fan base for college football."
However, neither the Sun Devils nor the Wildcats have offered yet. "They are both recruiting me a lot, but we haven't talked about scholarships yet," he said. Ash does have offers from Nebraska, Texas Tech, TCU, Washington State and Houston.
He said he now favors Nebraska and Texas Tech solidly over TCU, Arizona, Arizona State, Washington State, Penn State and Oklahoma. Ash has visited all of his favorites except for Washington State.
"I've heard good things about Washington State," he said. "One of our former players (linebacker Greg Trent) is a senior there and I've talked to him a bit about them. He really likes it there a lot and loves the campus and the people. He even had good things to say about the new coaches too."
Ash attended Nebraska's spring game and was very impressed. "They had about 80,000 people show up to the spring game," he said. "That was really cool. I wasn't expecting that many people. It was crazy. Even the day before, the people were already getting ready. If felt like a game day atmosphere.
"Also the coaches there are very sociable and easy to get along with," he said. "I think they'll stand out next year. I think they'll get Nebraska back to where it used to be. They all seem like good guys and I've been in contact with coach Bo Pelini and (offensive line coach) Barney Cotton a lot."
Although Ash denies that proximity is a factor, TCU being only 20 minutes away doesn't hurt. "My dad got his master's degree from there and I've been there several times already," he said. "I know the coaches pretty well already and feel comfortable around them."
The only other in-state school that Ash is considering is Texas Tech, which is about four hours away. "I love the spread offense they run," he said. "I like going one-on-one against the defensive lineman and I think I'd fit in really well in that kind of offense."
Like Arizona and Arizona State, neither Oklahoma nor Penn State have offered, but both are in touch. "I'm getting as much stuff from them as anybody else," he said.
"I really like the offensive line coach (James Patton) at Oklahoma," he said. "I liked getting to know him and I like how they run their offense. They train really hard and just get the job done. They are all about execution. They really focus on the details and that's why they are so good every year."
Despite being from the desert of Arizona, Ash said he's always liked cold weather. "When I was younger I really wanted to play in the cold," he said. "I like cold weather and snow."
Ash's penchant for cool climates is just one reason he likes Penn State. "I have an uncle who lives in Pennsylvania and that's a really nice area.
"Plus I love how at Penn State there's no names on the back of the jerseys and that they wear black cleats," he said. "There's nothing stylish going on there. It's all about football."
Ash plans to take his time and see who else offers before making a commitment. "My dad and I have talked about me making a decision sometime during my senior year," he said. "Probably sometime early in the season."
He bench presses 285-pounds and squats 415. "I've been taught to finish every play and I do that well," he said. "I'm also smart on the field and very aware of what's going on. I never quit and have great pass protection and can lock 'em out and keep them from my body.
"I lift every day from Monday to Friday and I want to get stronger," he said. "I also want to work on keeping my pad level low and improve my footwork."
Ash says he wants to major in business management and reports a 3.7 core GPA and a 1340 SAT. He retook the SAT a few weeks ago and is waiting on the results.