DITR: DB Preston Ashley, Brandon High School (Brandon, Mississippi)

Preston Ashley is a defensive back in the 2026 class. He has a 4.4 GPA and has versatility to play any position within the defensive backfield. In two or single high sets, he’ll line up at safety. He’ll line up at outside or slot corner. He can even be observed playing box or free safety.

Ashley has an incredibly smooth backpedal, something that separates him from other defensive backs his age. He reminds me of Alontae Taylor, how he keeps his composure when playing defense. Ashley has no sporadic movements, everything is fluid and calm, with well executed hand placements and contact to jar the ball loose or knock away the pass.

He has the frame of a prototypical NFL defensive back, measuring in at 6’0, 175 pounds. As he continues to add weight, he’ll be in that sweet spot that professional programs look for.

As far as contact goes, Ashley is very smart about creating it, and certainly does not shy away from it. He knows on shorter routes to step to the receiver, and get close to knock the ball away. He’s able to read the receivers hips extremely well, and make fluid decisions based upon their movement. For instance, on hitch routes, Ashley will smoothly backpedal, then fire down in a fluid motion upon reading the receivers break- even before the cut occurs.

His technique is a major reason why he allowed zero touchdowns last year.

He’s no slouch in the run game either. His Hudl is full of clips of him coming downhill from his safety spot to tackle the ball carrier. While his form when tackling could use some work, he’s more than willing to get downhill, and is why he has 100 recorded tackles in his short high school career. On top of that, he certainly has the strength to hit-stick the ball carrier when needed.

My favorite clip from Ashley was while he was working in what looks to be cover one. He was a low corner, playing off-man coverage on the receiver. He started his backpedal smoothly, before quickly and fluidly flipping his hips to run with the receiver. The route was a sort of fade route, however, Ashley stayed unfazed. He watched the receivers hips all the way to the catch point, before looking up at the last second to put his hands in a position to force the ball away.

His fluidity as a corner should be feared, and is one reason why he’s one of the highest ranked defensive backs in Mississippi. Although he’s already received plenty of offers, don’t be surprised if Ashley is one of the biggest names in high school football, over the next two years.

Below is a QnA between Ashley and myself.

What are some things you have overcome in life?

“Looked down on as not being skillful at football.”

What are your biggest accomplishments?

“Getting scholarships at such a young age.”

What player do you compare yourself to and why?

“I compare myself to a Brain Branch or a Patrick Surtain Jr. type of player”

What are your plans once you’re done with football and why?

“I want to become a physical therapist because they have done so much for athletes. And, I want to do the same to help young players, when I’m old, performance be great.”

What do you like about the sport of football and how is it significant to you?

“It’s a getaway from everything if life’s going bad and not looking up football always there it holds a special place in my heart.”

What is an interesting fact about you outside of football?

“I like to fish sometimes with my dad.”

What are your stats throughout your football career?

“1 Interception, 100 total tackles, 28 solo tackles, 3 pass breakups ,1 fumble recovery.”

What is your dream school to play for in college?

“Any college that is willing to pay for free schooling”

What is a strength you have in the game?

“Very physical in coverage.”

What are your current football goals?

“Be a better player mentally in the little aspects of the game and physically in the weight room.”

What’s something you’re working to improve ?

“Learning the little stuff from alignments to situational downs.”

What’s your favorite activity outside of football?


What’s something football taught you?

“Everyday’s not always going to be sunshine and rainbows. A lot of those days are tough and how will you battle with that in everyday life. Will you attack at life or will let life attack you?”