“That guy, he’s special,” said senior wide receiver Dante Pettis. “The way he can just change games. The way he can make one guy miss and he’s gone — it’s crazy.”

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SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — On Wednesday, Myles Gaskin was extolling the virtues of patience to Salvon Ahmed, his road roommate and likely eventual replacement as the Huskies’ go-to running back.

Gaskin was referring to the essential quality of waiting for a hole to develop, rather than following your instinct to burst forward into an opening that doesn’t yet exist.

“He’s starting to figure out the whole patience thing,” said Gaskin.

When it comes to Ahmed, a freshman with limitless potential but not yet a platform to unleash it, patience is a virtue that Husky fans might find elusive.

Penn State 35, Huskies 28

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Coach Chris Petersen has meted out Ahmed’s opportunities in bite-sized nuggets this season. They have been tasty enough — a 58-yard touchdown run here, an 82-yard kickoff return there — to foment a desire to gorge on the 5-foot-11, 189-pound speed demon from Kirkland.

That day is coming, fast. Gaskin could well be playing his final game as a Husky in the Fiesta Bowl on Saturday, having forged his patience and power into a record-breaking college career.

No one — not even roomie Ahmed, he insists — knows if Gaskin, a junior, will turn pro. But it would certainly come as no shock, considering the short shelf life of that position.

The exciting news for the Huskies is that Ahmed has shown enough in his true-freshman season to indicate that far greater feats are in his future.

And perhaps closer than we think: Ahmed’s role has gradually increased as the season has gone on, to the point that Penn State’s defensive coordinator, Brent Pry, expressed consternation over coping with the multifaceted threat he presents.

“I think very highly of him,” Pry said. “They put him anywhere, line him up at receiver, slot, tailback. He’s explosive with the ball, another weapon for those guys offensively.

“You have to know where he is, for sure, when he’s on the field.”

The tantalizing glimpses of Ahmed have led to just as much anticipation within the Huskies as outside.

“That guy, he’s special,” said senior wide receiver Dante Pettis. “The way he can just change games. The way he can make one guy miss and he’s gone — it’s crazy.”

“Salvon, he’s a pure athlete,” added senior linebacker Keishawn Bierria. “He’s a lot like Saquan (Barkley, Penn State’s star running back and fourth-place Heisman finisher), just a little younger.”

Asked for an assessment of Ahmed’s potential, Husky running-backs coach Keith Bhonapha said, “He hasn’t hit it yet. It’s unbelievable. If he just continues to trust in the coaching, and I can continue to build confidence in him, we’ll see something we’ve never seen before.”

Petersen said that one of Ahmed’s biggest current barriers is counterintuitive: a perfectionist tendency that might be hampering his instinctual brilliance.

“I’ve said from the start, he’s such a great kid, he wants to do everything just right, and sometimes that can slow guys down a little bit,” Petersen said.

“As explosive as he is, you’re kind of excited to see how this thing is going to go for him when he just plays more and he doesn’t think so much, and he just goes. You see flashes in the games, you see flashes in practice, where you’re just like, ‘Wow! This is different and this is really special.’ ”

As is the case with all of Washington’s true freshmen under Petersen, Ahmed had been off-limits to the media all season until Thursday’s teamwide news conference. In his first chance to reflect on an inaugural season in which he’s rushed 60 times for 387 yards (and pulled down a 3.7 GPA this past quarter to make the dean’s list as a communications major with a business minor), Ahmed sheepishly pleaded guilty to Petersen’s observation.

“I just try to do things the best way I can,” he said. “He told me, calm down and just play. That’s something I had to learn to do, and just continue to do that.”

After a superb career at Juanita High School that made him one of the nation’s most coveted recruits, Ahmed chose the Huskies over Stanford and Notre Dame. When Husky coaches saw Ahmed during fall camp and got a taste of what Gaskin calls his “getaway speed,” they realized that it would be foolish to redshirt him.

“He opened our eyes, because he’s such a different talent with how quick and fast at the same time he is,” Bhonapha said. “And how mature as well.”

Hanging with Gaskin has helped accelerate Ahmed’s growth. The freshman says they give each other running tips, though mostly it is Gaskin doing the giving and Ahmed the absorbing.

“He’s like a big brother to me,” Ahmed said. “I look up to him a lot. He’s showed me the ropes.”

Ahmed said his favorite highlight of the season was scoring against Oregon, which he calls a “childhood dream school, one of the teams you look up to, so it was pretty cool to play against them.”

One would-be highlight turned bitter disappointment was an apparent 51-yard touchdown run by Ahmed on a reverse against Arizona State that was called back because of a penalty. The Huskies’ 13-7 loss helped keep them out of a return trip to the College Football Playoffs.

“It’s tough to get stuff like that called back, and obviously it sucks for the team,” he said. “But wasn’t the only defining thing in that game.”

Mostly, though, it’s been an enticing rookie season for Ahmed. Bhonapha said he was just talking with ex-Husky great Shaq Thompson, who observed that Ahmed is John Ross at running back.

“John Ross’s thing is, he’s so fast, he can make a jump cut at full speed and get back to full speed,’’ Bhonapha elaborated. “That’s Salvon Ahmed.”

The best part? Gaskin, who started as a true freshman, said he didn’t even get fully comfortable at the position until halfway through his sophomore year. Ahmed is going through a similar adjustment period, he believes.

“Once he gets comfortable, I think that’s going to be scary for a lot of teams,” Gaskin said. “I think a lot of people think they’ve seen it — oh, he’s just a speedy guy, which is not true. There’s a lot more to his game.”

Perhaps Ahmed will have a chance to unveil more of his game Saturday against Penn State. But rest assured, it’s coming. Just be patient.