A young Thomas Ashcraft sat on the ground, his brow furrowed as he stared at the overturned remote-control car.
Most children would be content to just play with the toy, but Ashcraft needed to know how it worked. He opened the outer casing and began disassembling the object piece by piece, observing how each part interacted with the next before putting the entire contraption back together.
His RC cars were not the only piece of technology to be taken apart by Ashcraft. His cell phone, computer, you name it, the offensive lineman has figured out what makes it tick.
“I just always liked technology,” said Ashcraft. “I always took stuff apart and put it together. I took my bike apart and looked at the parts. I just like putting things together and making things work.”
It's no surprise that Ashcraft, who holds a 3.4 GPA in high school, plans to become a Mechanical Engineering major when he arrives at Texas. His head coach at Cedar Hill, Joey McGuire, told Inside Texas that Ashcraft certainly has the smarts to do it.
“Football's the only regular class he takes,” said McGuire. “He's in all AP, pre-AP, college classes. He does an incredible job. His teachers love him because he's so organized and he works so hard.”
Texas' ME program was one of his main reasons for Ashcraft giving his commitment to the Longhorns. According to McGuire, Ashcraft thought far beyond the field of play when selecting Texas.
“(Ashcraft) said, 'I took it from the standpoint of, if I wasn't playing football, where would I want to go?' He said, 'I want to go to Austin,'” said McGuire. “A lot of kids aren't like that. A lot of kids are all about what uniforms they wear, how much they're going to play on TV, stuff like that. That wasn't him. It was, 'My education and where will I be happy if I wasn't playing football.'”
Ashcraft is happy with his choice and said he's a solid commitment to the University of Texas. Recruiting has died down significantly for him because of how firm his promise is.
“I still get letters from some schools, but it's slowed down quite a bit, though. I think they got the idea,” said Ashcraft.
His academics are strong and Ashcraft has a very measured, cerebral nature to him, but when he gets on the field that all changes. He loves being an offensive linemen and even feels sorry for players at other positions because they can't be as physical.
“We hit every play. Some people don't get to hit at all or very little in the game and we get to hit every play. It's fun. I like to hit,” said Ashcraft, with a smile.
The 6-5, 270-pound Ashcraft has gotten to hit all over the line. When he jumped up to varsity as a sophomore, there were other talented tackles in front of him, but McGuire said he needed to get the big man onto the field. Ashcraft took to the role and started at guard for Cedar Hill. The next season he moved out to left tackle and will remain there for his senior campaign.
He never complained about being moved to any position and had little problem adjusting. Longhorn coaches made note of this when deciding the offer Ashcraft a scholarship.
“They said I was coachable, I worked hard, they liked how I worked here and that I'd do real well,” said Ashcraft.
That work ethic is one of the things McGuire appreciates in Ashcraft and he gave his talented offensive lineman one of the highest praises a person can receive.
“I have a nine-year-old little boy and I would love for him to grow up to be like Thomas, where Thomas is right now in his life, just from the standpoint of he knows what he wants and he's worked his tail off to get it,” said McGuire.
Now, Ashcraft is working on getting even better for the upcoming season and for the next level. He's stayed in close contact with the other members of the 2009 recruiting class, especially the other offensive linemen. He's excited about the talent Texas is bringing in and he's hoping to apply his skills on the field to engineering a National Championship for the Longhorns.
Members Only Information on Thomas Ashcarft
With both Ashcraft and 2008 signee Jarvis Humphrey coming to Texas, are the Horns establishing a pipeline to the talent-rish school? Inside Texas sits down with Cedar Hill coach Joey McGuire to talk about his thoughts on Texas and the group of 2010 prospects from the Cedar Hill that the Longhorns are already recruiting. - Longhorns Going After 2010 Talent at Cedar Hill
Also, Ashcraft has played both guard and tackle for Cedar Hill, but where will he play when he arrives at UT? - Is Ashcraft an Interior or Exterior Lineman?
As sophomore at guard: Watch Video
As a junior at tackle: Watch Video