It's official. Ashton Youboty's status as a valuable cornerback has been reclaimed. After two trying years with injury and family tragedy, he has put it all together heading into year three. Named the team's nickel cornerback coming out of the preseason Youboty is happy, but far from satisfied.
"I'm definitely happy with the outcome and just looking forward to the Seahawks and keep the production going and help this team win," said Youboty.
Youboty was very productive during the preseason at a time where he had to be as the coaching staff added three rookies and a veteran at the position. He finished with 18 tackles, two interceptions, two sacks, one forced fumble and four pass defenses.
"He made tremendous plays in camp and in the preseason games," said Donte Whitner. "Those are great stats for four preseason games. He's really stepped up and he's our nickel back now. He's going to make some plays. He's really honed in on his skills and his responsibilities there."
Having been his teammate in college at Ohio State, Whitner always knew what Youboty was capable of. However, the first two years of Youboty's professional career made transitioning to the NFL difficult.
"With Ashton the number one thing with him was he lost his mom early and hurt his hamstring so his rookie season was pretty much wiped out," said Whitner. "So that year he pretty much spent the majority of his time on special teams and on scout team. He didn't have the opportunity to learn the defenses that we were putting in each week.
"The second year he had an ankle injury that kept him out for a number of weeks. Jabari (Greer) goes in and Jabari plays well so Ashton's kind of on the back burner."
Year three for Youboty was going to be important whether there was a new crop of talent brought in at the cornerback position or not. But the added competition only seemed to fuel Youboty more.
"I just have a competitive nature," said Youboty. "Drafting three cornerbacks is a big move by a team so they wanted a shutdown at the corner position and I think it did (help me)."
"This year he had to make the team," said Whitner. "They put him in the fire and he came out and proved to everybody that he's a good football player, and that he's worthy of being on this football team."
Being entrusted with the nickel role is as big a responsibility as there is in the secondary, especially with three wide such a common look from opponents every week. Youboty knows it will require more study along with his cornerback duties.
"I'm going to focus a lot of energy on that," he said. "When you watch the tape you watch the same play a few times and see how you would react to the play in cover one, cover two, cover three, blitz. How you'd react to the same play in different calls. I'll have to do that as the nickel and the corner, so those will mean a little more time in the film room, but that won't hurt."
"He has to be physical with those guys also because they have a two way go," said Whitner. "When you're on the outside you have the sideline and out of bounds to protect you. There's only a certain amount of routes they can run if you're an outside corner. On the inside they can run any route they want to. So he'll have to watch that film and know what guys like to do. There's an art to that slot. I think Ashton will do a good job."
If his regular season is anything like the preseason Youboty will be better than good.