Top 10 offensive 'prove-it' players for 2014

Texas QB David Ash and Michigan QB Devin Gardner have much to prove in 2014. AP Photo, USA Today Sports Images

A year ago, coming off a drug-related suspension and a drop-off in production, Clemson receiver Sammy Watkins was a prime example of a player with much to prove.

And now? After helping Clemson to its first BCS bowl victory, Watkins is a vindicated player and potential top-five draft prospect.

Who’s the Watkins in this cycle, an offensive player working to bounce back and prove himself in the wake of injuries or poor performances?

Here are the top 10 offensive “prove-it” players for 2014.

1. David Ash, QB, Texas Longhorns

Ash was lost early in 2013 to a concussion, and some close to the program told me at the time that his career might be over. But he’s back, given full clearance to participate in spring ball (even if there’s no contact for QBs).

Coaches in the area told me that, in the past, Ash struggled to grasp more complicated offensive concepts. It’s possible a different teacher, new QB coach Shawn Watson, will be eye-opening; or it’s possible a new system and voices could be even more problematic, opening the door to the talented, highly touted youngsters.