Washington star running back Myles Gaskin will return for his senior season, and he has big plans for 2018.
“The big thing was just finishing what I started,” he told the Seattle Times on Sunday evening. “I just want to win some games again and try make another run at a national championship.”
The 5-foot-10, 190-pound running back from Lynnwood had given strong consideration to entering the NFL draft. Monday is the deadline for underclassmen to declare for the draft, and most projected Gaskin as a Day 3 selection (rounds 4-7) were he to leave UW this year.
Gaskin said he received a fourth-round grade from the NFL Draft Advisory Board.
He said he tried to consider “every possible aspect” before making a decision, writing a “pros” and “cons” list down on paper. He has had two conversations with UW coach Chris Petersen, and more talks with his position coach, Keith Bhonapha.
Ultimately, he decided to remain for a fourth season at UW after heartfelt talks with his parents and his older brother, Ivan.
“The University of Washington has always been really good to me and there is no reason to just run out as soon as I can,” Gaskin said. “I feel like I left some meat on bone, leaving with a loss (in the Fiesta Bowl), and I don’t want to go out like that.”
Gaskin will enter the 2018 season needing just 51 yards to match Napoleon Kaufman’s school rushing record of 4,106 yards. He rushed for 98 yards and two touchdowns in the Huskies’ Fiesta Bowl loss to Penn State, moving him past Chris Polk and into second place on UW’s career rushing list.
With Gaskin, the Huskies will return intact the most productive backfield in program history. Gaskin holds school records for rushing touchdowns (45) and total touchdowns (49), and he will team with senior QB Jake Browning for a fourth season in the backfield.
“I couldn’t leave Jake hanging like that,” Gaskin said. “We want to finish strong – finish what we started.”
Browning holds the UW record for most touchdown passes, with 78.
“What I appreciate most about Myles is, you talk to him then (as a freshman) and you talk to him now it’s pretty much the same exact thing,” Browning said before the Fiesta Bowl. “He asked if today was optional for media (interviews). So I don’t think he’s really interested in being the guy everybody talks about. I think he just wants to go play football and win games and that’s pretty much it.
“I think that’s why we’ve been able to get along pretty well and never really had any issues at all. … I have zero problems with people that are willing to work hard and want to win games that aren’t interested in being celebrities.”
In 40 career games at UW, Gaskin has rushed for 4,055 rushing yards on 696 carries, and his average of 5.8 yards per carry is the best in program history.
Gaskin has averaged 101.4 yards rushing per game in his college career, also the best among any Husky running back who has played in at least 18 games.
With Gaskin joining Browning, left tackle Trey Adams, right tackle Kaleb McGary, defensive tackle Greg Gaines and safety JoJo McIntosh all returning for their senior season, the Huskies will enter the 2018 with lofty expectations.
Entering a key opening game against Auburn in Atlanta on Sept. 1, the Huskies are expected to be ranked in the top 10 and a favorite again in the Pac-12 next fall.
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