2018 was always going to be an interesting season for the Huskies. Jake Browning’s senior year, lots of talent sticking around on defense, Pettis leaving for the draft (meaning the wide receiver group was totally up for grabs), and Lavon Coleman graduating. When you were under the assumption – as I was – that Myles Gaskin was going to leave for the NFL after his Junior year, that meant the running back room was up for grabs too. Salvon Ahmed, obviously, had the inside track after his solid Freshman year in 2017, but we were destined to see a lot of new faces back there, until we landed on a 2-man or 3-man regular rotation.
Instead, Gaskin is back! He’s back as the team’s unquestioned starter, he’s set to break just about every single rushing record in Washington football history, and it gives us Husky fans one less thing to worry about when it comes to this offense in 2018.
Obviously, with Coleman gone, Ahmed’s role is set to increase, and you figure the next-best back will get some of those old Ahmed touches from 2017 (assuming Ahmed doesn’t convert to receiver or something). The Huskies have been recruiting some highly ranked running backs under Coach Pete, so I’ll still be interested to see the new crop start to get their looks.
I would also think Gaskin’s usage doesn’t change much. He’s not going to suddenly become a workhorse. He’ll still lead the way, but I wouldn’t expect the team to ride him to death.
It’s interesting, though, because it looked like he did everything he could do in college. Under normal circumstances, he would’ve been gone in a heartbeat. But, this year, there’s a glut of running backs coming out of college, and apparently he was given a 4th round grade by people who study this stuff. Which, if you’ve heard about pre-draft grades, you know how those can vary (just see Chris Polk’s fall). 4th round is probably a best-case scenario this year, with a very real possibility that it’s more like a 5th or 6th round reality.
There’s the risk though. You risk coming out early and disappearing in the draft, or you risk playing another season, getting injured, regressing a little bit, but maybe coming out in a draft with fewer quality running backs. I dunno. If you love college and are committed to getting your degree, then I think that’s a real factor as well. Hell, I LOVED college, I never would’ve left if it was monetarily feasible.
So, good news for Husky fans, though a little bit of a bummer for Gaskin. Here’s hoping he just blows everyone away in 2018 and gets his draft stock to soar!