It’s not difficult to connect the dots between Myles Gaskin cutting grass in the summers and setting freshman rushing records at Washington with 1,302 yards and 14 touchdowns last season.

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Cutting grass? That was Ivan’s idea.

Almost everything the two Gaskin boys did as children started with him. Myles, three years younger, would always follow close behind big brother.

They fought – most of the times in a good way – like siblings tend to fight. They constantly raced, wrestled and played endless games of tag, football and basketball against each other. Always competing.

Even now as young men, they go at it like little kids. It doesn’t matter that Ivan is a 22-year-old Morehouse College in Atlanta graduate and 19-year-old Myles is a budding football star for the Washington Huskies.

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They still keep tabs on their longstanding tally of who beat whom.

“The last time we fought was the last time he was home and he got me,” Myles said sheepishly last week after practice while providing vague details about some sort of wrestling match.

“I said I could beat him up,” Myles said, smiling. “And we fought. That’s how we get down. We don’t really fight like fist fighting. We wrestle. … He wrestled in high school, but he’s a little smaller than me and I thought I could get him. He won. I won’t lie. But when he comes back, it’s a new day.”

Ivan is mum on the subject. He won’t go there. But he’ll talk extensively about the unbreakable bond he shares with his little brother, their close-knit family in Lynnwood and their uncharacteristic work ethic that had the two kids starting a grass-cutting operation when they were slightly older than toddlers.

“You don’t come around our house without working,” Ivan said. “My dad would say work is what is going to separate you.

“We had a landscaping company and we had a couple of contracts with the city. It grew from cutting the neighbor’s house across the street to something pretty large. There were three employees at one time. We employed our friends. We had quite a few houses. There might have been 21 yards that we did from Lynnwood to Snohomish.”

The Gaskin brothers loaded two lawn mowers, a weed whacker, a leaf blower, two shovels and a rake in the back of their father’s Toyota Corolla and he drove the boys to their jobs.

“I was behind the lawnmower at 5 by myself,” Myles said. “I used to cut the grass and my dad would be walking behind me, but I was pushing it.

“That’s how we made our money when we were little. Our parents never gave us money. … We learned how to work for what you want. And I took that into every aspect of my life.”

It’s not difficult to connect the dots between cutting grass in the summers and setting freshman rushing records at Washington with 1,302 yards and 14 touchdowns last season.

“Myles has always been a different kind of an athlete as well as a different kind of person,” Ivan said. “Whenever he gets locked in on something, he just has a different level of determination.”

At 5 feet and 9 inches, Myles Gaskin was the biggest surprise for the Huskies a year ago.

Even though he’d been a rare four-year starter at Seattle’s O’Dea High who ran for 1,567 yards and 25 touchdowns as a senior, the three-star recruit was a relatively unheralded prospect at the start of his freshman season at Washington.

Gaskin ran for just five yards in the 2015 opener at Boise State. The next week, he exploded on the scene with 146 yards and three touchdowns against Sacramento State.

Still, it would take two more games before Gaskin won the starting tailback duties. He ran for at least 100 yards in seven of UW’s final nine games, including an MVP performance in a 44-31 win over Southern Mississippi in the Heart of Dallas Bowl when he finished with 181 yards and four touchdowns.

The fleet-footed Gaskin often eluded defenders with a patient, elusive and deceptively powerful running ability that created a bevy of UW highlights.

He had touchdown runs of 86, 78 and 72 yards while drawing comparisons to Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey, the 2015 Heisman Trophy runner-up.

As good as Gaskin was, his brother believes he’ll be better during his sophomore season.

“There’s still a lot of room for improvement,” Ivan said. “He was just really out there just doing his thing from a heart/work perspective.

“Now that he has the opportunity to add some experience to it, I’m excited to see what he does.”

Gaskin said he added about 10 pounds to his muscular frame and bulked up to 192. He averaged 17.5 carries per game and the additional weight should help him withstand an increased workload.

But then, Gaskin has never been shy about work.

“Our parents put that in me and my brother,” he said. “If you really want something, nobody is going to give it to you.”

At least Gaskin isn’t cutting grass anymore, right?

“Nah, I wouldn’t say that,” he said. “I still cut grass when I go home. We stopped cutting grass and making money once I graduated (high school).

“But when I go home, I cut our grass. Nobody else is going to cut it, except my dad. But you don’t want your dad out there every day cutting grass like that.”

What a first season
In 2015, Myles Gaskin set a Washington true-freshman record for rushing yards and rushing touchdowns. He rushed for at least 100 yards in eight games.
Season totals Carries Rush yds Avg. TD Long
2015 Washington 227 1,302 5.73 14 86
Best game Carries Rush yds Avg, TD Long
Heart of Dallas Bowl 26 181 6.96 4 86