They bicker like brothers, but competition is the foundation of a tight relationship between UW Huskies running backs Salvon Ahmed and Myles Gaskin.
The debate needed to be settled once and for all.
Throughout the day, they argued with neither side relenting and tensions inside the house they share growing with each passing hour.
Who’s faster, Myles Gaskin or Salvon Ahmed?
Technically, Ahmed, the Washington Huskies sophomore running back, logged a faster time (4.43 seconds) in the 40-yard dash early this year at the Husky Combine in March.
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And Gaskin, UW’s record-breaking senior, clocked a 4.44.
Still, the debate continued as they bickered like brothers.
So they raced. Five times. At midnight. On an empty field at Blanchet High.
The only witness was a mutual friend and this is the part where Ahmed isn’t quite as forthcoming with the details. But he came clean after a little prodding.
“He won three out of the five,” Ahmed said smiling. “I won two. But we raced before that (at the Husky Combine) and I won. So it’s like we’re tied.”
Kind of, but not really.
At least, not according to Gaskin who teases and taunts Ahmed like a little sibling. Ahmed doesn’t mind. In fact, the competition is the foundation of their tight relationship and strengthens their connection.
“He’s helped me tremendously just being a role model,” Ahmed said. “When I first got here he helped me with the plays, pass (protection) … and watching film.
“And just kind of being someone I can look up to in terms of football and doing things outside of football.”
As one of UW’s seven true freshmen who played last season, Ahmed gained 388 rushing yards and scored three touchdowns in a backup role behind Gaskin, who ran for 1,380 yards and 21 touchdowns.
Ahmed might have ascended to the No. 1 spot if Gaskin left early and turned pro, but the former Juanita High star was thrilled when Gaskin opted to return even though it means another year as an understudy.
“I wanted him to come back,” Ahmed said. “I think the team really needs him and I think he’ll be useful to us a lot. I was happy to continue to learn from him knowing that I need him back there still. “I was happy to get him back.”
Gaskin is the nation’s top returning rusher with 4,055 career yards and he’s just 51 yards shy of Napoleon Kaufman’s school rushing record.
Conceivably, there’s still plenty of carries for Ahmed because Lavon Coleman, who tallied 407 rushing yards on 89 attempts last season, has graduated.
Still, Ahmed might need to contend with sophomores Sean McGrew, a star during spring drills, and Kamari Pleasant for playing time.
“You never want to say anything is a given because you always want to get your best 11 guys on the field, but I’m excited for Salvon because he can do a lot of things,” running back coach Keith Bhonapha said. “He has a versatile skill set and he’s shown he can make big plays.”
Ahmed, who garnered All-Pac-12 honorable mention recognition, lined up in the backfield and as a slot receiver, where he posted 13 catches for 77 yards.
He also had four runs of 20 yards or longer, including a dazzling 58-yard touchdown scamper against Oregon.
In many ways, Ahmed and Gaskin are striking similar.
Gaskin is listed at 5 feet 10 and 193 pounds while Ahmed is 5-11 and 195. Gaskin averaged 6.2 yards, Ahmed 6.4.
“If you look at Salvon, he has that overwhelming quickness and explosion in and out of breaks,” Bhonapha said. “He is really, really fast getting up to a point of contact or a point of leverage.
“The difference between him and Myles is that Myles has the same quickness and explosion, but he’s a little bit smoother when it comes to that.”
Finally, Bhonapha referenced a music analogy to finish his point.
“I say this all the time, but when I think of Myles, he’s more like smooth jazz,” he said. “And Salvon, he’s more like hip hop. The results are similar and how they get there similar, but they go about their business in a slight different way.”