In the space of two weeks, new Texas Longhorns head coach Charlie Strong has received good news on both sides of the football, as quarterback David Ash has been cleared for offseason workouts and spring practice, joining defensive end Cedric Reed, who opted to return to school of his final season.
Ash's future was in jeopardy all fall after he suffered a concussion against BYU in the second game of the season and returned against Kansas State, but was only able to play one half before experiencing a recurrence of symptoms related to the concussion.
After that, Ash's potential availability was on a week-to-week basis until late November, when the school officially declared him out for the season, but expressed optimism about his ability to return in the spring.
That optimism was confirmed on Saturday with the official news of the junior quarterback's clean bill of health. And since the Belton product was never declared available at the end of the 2013 season and played in few enough games to earn a medical redshirt, regaining the lost season for Ash should be a mere formality. If that happens, he will have two seasons of eligibility remaining.
It's the best possible news for a quarterback situation that would have been shaky otherwise, as freshman Tyrone Swoopes was able to show little in his laying time and starting a true freshman in Jerrod Heard in the fall would have required significantly lowered expectations to deal with his learning curve.
Ash had appeared ready for a breakout season in 2013 after improving greatly as a sophomore, with his turnaround in the Alamo Bowl to lead the comeback against Oregon State a potentially major development for a quarterback who had struggled to recover from early adversity in a game.
In 2012, Ash had finished in the top 20 in passer rating and adjusted QBR, sitting one spot ahead of heralded Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater in the latter category.
With Ash's return, the upside for the 2014 team is significantly increased.