Salvon Ahmed turned heads at the NFL Combine on Friday.
And not in the way he wanted.
The 5-foot-11, 197-pound running back — who opted to enter the 2020 NFL Draft rather than return to Washington for his senior season — registered times of 4.62 and 4.67 seconds in the 40-yard dash, ranking 19th out of 28 participating running backs. This comes barely a year after the Kirkland product led UW with a 4.32-second 40-yard dash in last spring’s Husky Combine.
It’s a perplexing performance for Ahmed, who explained his reasoning for leaving Washington earlier this week.
“It was definitely something that I’ve been thinking about since I got to college,’’ Ahmed said. “Everyone’s dream is to leave after three years, but for me I had goals I wanted to accomplish. I definitely wanted to be a 1,000-yard rusher, I wanted to have 10-plus touchdowns, I wanted to have explosive plays, and if I didn’t have those things I wasn’t going to leave and I was fortunate enough to mark off every single one of those goals. And I felt physically and mentally on top of that that I was ready to be a pro.’’
After filling a limited role in his first two seasons in Seattle behind proven starter Myles Gaskin, Ahmed became the Huskies’ primary running back last fall. The former Juanita High School standout ran for 1,020 yards with 5.4 yards per carry and 11 touchdowns in 12 games, while adding 84 receiving yards. He eclipsed 100 rushing yards four times and was named an All-Pac-12 honorable mention for the second time as well.
Ahmed’s most marketable asset has always been his speed. In his evaluation of the outgoing junior, NFL.com draft analyst Lance Zierlein wrote that Ahmed “is light on his feet but suffers from a debilitating lack of vision and decisiveness that prevents him from reaching his athletic potential as a runner. Ahmed lacks feel for blocking scheme and run-lane development, but even struggled to see it and hit the gas when clear points of entry were available.” Zierlein added that Ahmed “faces an uphill battle to make a team.”
That climb may be even more steep in the wake of Friday’s disappointing times. It’s worth noting that Ahmed will have an opportunity to run the 40-yard dash at UW’s pro day.
And he isn’t the only Husky who could use another shot at the 40. Junior tight end Hunter Bryant recorded a 4.74 time at the combine on Thursday, considered a minor disappointment for the electric athlete. That time was ninth out of 17 competing tight ends. The 6-2 Bryant — who bulked up to 248 pounds for the event — did impress in other areas, completing 23 bench press reps of 225 pounds (which ranked second among all tight ends).
Seven Huskies were invited to attend this week’s combine: Ahmed, Bryant, quarterback Jacob Eason, center Nick Harris, offensive tackle Trey Adams, defensive back Myles Bryant and wide receiver Aaron Fuller.