What Myles Gaskin returning means for the Washington Huskies

SEATTLE, WA - NOVEMBER 25: Quarterback Jake Browning
SEATTLE, WA - NOVEMBER 25: Quarterback Jake Browning /

Running back Myles Gaskin returning means a great deal to the Washington Huskies for 2018, and could mean a Pac-12 championship title

The University of Washington Football team and fanbase has to feel good now.  Although the Stanford Cardinals are pleased to get running back Bryce Love back, the Huskies are the real winners of the offseason.  Running back Myles Gaskin is returning for his senior year is the final piece of the championship puzzle.

The Huskies are getting back both their starting tackles, Trey Adams and Kaleb McGary for their senior years. Offensive tackle Luke Wattenberg has experience as a starter, which will work in his favor. Standout guard Nick Harris is a two-year starter, who will probably slide inside to center. And all this experience will give the Huskies one of the most experienced offensive lines in the country. That line will help Myles Gaskin set the Washington rushing record, which he needs 60 yards to break.

We expect he will do it in the first game.

Heisman Hopeful?

Gaskin’s returns to a program already touted as the favorite to compete for a Pac-12 championship. The fact that he is coming back adds to massive talent already piling up in Seattle Washington. Gaskin has led the rushing attack as a solid contributer for each of the past three seasons.  As a matter of fact, he has a legitimate shot to win the Heisman next year.  In 2018, he ran for 1380 yards this season and scored 24 total touchdowns.

Taking his 2017 number and projecting forward, he has a very good shot to break 1500 yards next season.   Factor in his new talent as a receiver and you could argue that he breaks the 30 touchdown mark. Combine that with Washington’s projected dominance, Washington could have its first Heisman winner.

No cupcakes this season

The Washington Football team is ramping up the intensity on the field, and on the schedule.  The 2018 season opens with a tough contest against the Auburn Tigers. That will be a huge test.  However, having Myles Gaskin in the backfield places the pressure upon Auburn. And a good game for Gaskin early could really set the tempo for his whole season at Washington.  Still, don’t rule out a great season for quarterback Jake Browing.

And while the team finished at 10-3 last season, the attrition to the 2018 NFL Draft appears to be much lighter than originally feared.  With both Gaskin and Browning, the team is not rebuilding at either the passing game nor the running game.  The transition is more akin to “retooling”.  And while that may slow the migration from veteran to freshmen players, you can bet that head coach Chris Petersen will be more than happy to play anyone who earns that responsibility on the practice field.

Veteran Leadership

This adds extreme value to other running backs, especially incoming freshmen Trey Lowe and Richard Newton.  The hardest part of any incoming player is to synch up with the team’s rhythm, or natural cadence. Gaskin gives them a great senior leader to look up to and learn from. They won’t be drafted into playing immediately, and can learn many things from the sidelines.

Meanwhile, Lowe can also be utilized in a similar role that Salvon Ahmed was in 2017.  He could very likely have a similar impact.  Ahmed could step into Lavon Coleman’s role and be a change of pace back. While Coleman was a true power back, Lowe is that shifty type of back whose forte is making people miss rather than bowling them over.  But that in itself throws a defense off.

Ahmed, Lowe and Newton

After flashes of brilliance in the 2017 season, it’s a foregone conclusion that Ahmed’s role needs to be increased.  Ahmed projects to take over as the full time back in 2019.  Now with the addition of both 5-foot-9 running back Trey Lowe and 6-foot-1 running back Richard Newton, the Washington Football team is loaded with rushers for years to come. Newtwon’s height adds a curious potential as a rusher/receiver option.

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Gaskin is also a much needed senior leader on that high-octane offense.  With number of incoming freshmen, plus a new offensive coordinator, there will be some transition this year. Many newcomers arrive at skill positions too, which makes any transition harder. Having Jake Browning in the huddle is a huge help.  Still, having a running back like Gaskin is crucial. He knows how to set the tempo on offense. And as a veteran, he’ll show an offense full of freshmen and sophomores how to play hard nosed, Husky football.