Third-year sophomores Sean McGrew and Kamari Pleasant figure to get the bulk of the carries this spring.
The Huskies’ Sept. 1 season opener against Auburn is a mere 165 days away, and another season of great anticipation inches closer with the start of spring practices next week. Today, we continue a daily series of spring position previews with a look at the running backs.
Myles Gaskin, sr., 5-10, 191
Salvon Ahmed, so., 5-11, 191
Sean McGrew, so., 5-7, 174
Kamari Pleasant, so., 6-0, 207 (plus 13)
Nate Ihlenfeldt, rs-fr., 5-11, 192*
Paul Wells, jr., 5-9, 174*
Lavon Coleman, graduated
Ralph Kinne, graduated
Richard Newton, fr., 6-1, 183
SPRING OUTLOOK: The combination of Myles Gaskin and Salvon Ahmed makes the Huskies’ backfield as experienced and as talented as … well, as it’s ever been? Gaskin decided to return for his senior season, much to the delight of Husky fans everywhere, and he needs just 51 yards to match Napoleon Kaufman’s school rushing record of 4,106 yards. Like Jake Browning, Gaskin enters his fourth season as a starter and he has a chance to cement his place among UW’s all-time greats. He doesn’t have anything to prove this spring, and his workload will certainly reflect that. Ahmed (61 rushes, 388 yards, 3 TD/13 receptions, 77 yards) has a nice true-freshman season, and he might be UW’s No. 1 breakout candidate going into next fall.
BIGGEST QUESTION: Can Sean McGrew be a factor?
The Huskies know what they have in Gaskin and, largely, in Ahmed too. What they don’t know, what we don’t know, is what exactly they have on the rest of the depth chart. That’s what this spring should be about at the position. There has been much intrigue about the 5-foot-7 McGrew since his arrival two years ago. The former California prep player of the year added about five pounds this winter, up to 174, and figures to again get the bulk of the carries this spring. At his size, he doesn’t project to be an every-down back, but he should still get a chance to prove he can contribute as the third back, and perhaps in an even greater role in 2019.
KEY STAT: 4.43
Ahmed ran a (hand-timed) 4.43-second 40-yard dash during UW’s winter conditioning last week, just ahead of Gaskin’s 4.44.
BREAKOUT CANDIDATE: As a redshirt freshman last fall, Kamari Pleasant looked early on like he might have a role in the offense. In his UW debut in the Pac-12 opener at Colorado, he had only one carry (for five yards) but played significant snaps as a fullback-slash-lead blocker, helping the Huskies pile on 254 yards rushing that day. He largely disappeared after that, appearing in just three more games the rest of the season. This winter, Pleasant added 13 pounds (up to 207) as he becomes the new “big back” following Lavon Coleman’s graduation. Like McGrew, Pleasant ought to get plenty of carries to showcase himself this spring.