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Washington Huskies Spring Football: Running Backs

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Myles Gaskin’s presence instantly establishes Washington’s backfield as one of the conference’s most dangerous.

NCAA Football: Fiesta Bowl-Penn State vs Washington Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Thanks to Myles Gaskin’s unexpected decision to return for his senior season, the Washington Huskies’ backfield will feature an especially formidable one-two combo in the form of him and Salvon Ahmed in 2018.

Running Backs

Name Year Height Weight Yards (2017) Touchdowns (2017)
Name Year Height Weight Yards (2017) Touchdowns (2017)
Myles Gaskin Senior 5-10 191 1,380 21
Salvon Ahmed Sophomore 5-11 191 388 3
Sean McGrew RS Sophomore 5-7 174 59 2
Kamari Pleasant RS Sophomore 6-0 207 19 0
Nate Ihlenfeldt RS Freshman 5-11 192 0 0

Obviously, Washington’s running back stable is headlined by Gaskin, who will enter the 2018 season poised to etch his name throughout Washington’s record book. Gaskin already holds the team’s career rushing touchdowns record with 45 scores, and he needs just 51 yards to match Napoleon Kaufman’s career record of 4,106. He is the current FBS leader in career rushing yards, and will be the centerpiece of the Husky offense as the passing game adjusts to life without Dante Pettis.

As a true freshman, Salvon Ahmed showed flashes of the athleticism that made him one of the nation’s most highly sought-after athletes in the 2017 class, breaking off four carries of 20 yards or longer in just 61 attempts. On special teams, Ahmed was one of just two players in the Pac-12 to return a kickoff for more than 80 yards. He is the almost-certain favorite to become Washington’s featured back after Gaskin departs, and stands to benefit greatly from another year under Gaskin’s and running backs coach Keith Bhonapha’s tutelage.

Sean McGrew showed flashes of big-play ability in garbage-time scenarios of his redshirt freshman season, but never got a chance to make much of an impact during meaningful stretches of games. That will likely remain the case in 2018 — after all, McGrew continues to trail Gaskin and Ahmed in the depth chart pecking order — but Lavon Coleman’s departure means that there will be opportunities for change-of-pace carries. And while Coleman and McGrew couldn’t be more different in terms of body shapes and running styles, there’s no reason to doubt that the coaches will find snaps for him if he proves in practice that he can provide an attacking element that no one else on the offense can supply.

At this point, Pleasant, Ihlenfeldt and true freshman Richard Newton (who hasn’t yet officially enrolled, and is thus not included on the roster) are all firmly ensconced at the tail end of the depth chart, and should only see meaningful action if Gaskin, Ahmed or McGrew are injured or otherwise unavailable.