After an outstanding freshman year, Myles Gaskin finished 2016 with an impressive sophomore campaign. Many scouts were saying that in order for Gaskin to hold up at the college football level, he would need to gain weight and wouldn’t be “the guy” for a few years. Not only did he prove them wrong, but he is now one of the most highly regarded running backs in college football.
3-Star by Rivals and 247Sports
O’Dea High School, Seattle (WA)
Gaskin has been extremely impressive in his first two seasons of college football and he is the first Washington true freshman to ever rush for 100 yards in back to back games. He is a special player with outstanding work ethic and speed that is second to none. Gaskin was a standout track athlete finishing with the fastest 100-meter dash in the state of Washington at 11 seconds. His speed is evident every time he has the ball in his hand.
Gaskin is the first ever Washington Huskie running back to rush for 1,000 yards in a season as a true freshman, with a record 14 rushing touchdowns. He also made a name for himself with eight 100-yard rushing games in 2015, which was third most in the PAC 12. In only his second game of his career against Sacramento State, he rushed for 146 yards and three touchdowns on 14 attempts.
He continued his success in 2016, rushing for over 1,000 yards yet again. He would also prove to be a threat in the passing game with 137 yards on 19 receptions and one touchdown. This was a big jump from his 19 yards on 6 receptions in 2015. Gaskin would end the 2016 season with 1,373 yards and 10 touchdowns, paving way for him to make the First Team All-Pac 12.
Burst and Explosion:
One of the key traits for any successful running back to have is burst. Gaskin has near elite burst and acceleration the second the ball is in his hand. He possesses the innate ability to display very good mental processing at the line of scrimmage as well. He is able to adjust his initial acceleration while showing excellent patience to identify what his blockers are giving him.
In this play, you see the initial acceleration and burst that allows him to explode through the hole. He acquires enough momentum to gain 10 yards while starting from deep in the end zone. Gaskin also does a very good job of using and setting up his blockers. It is impressive how quickly he can see running lanes develop and collapse, allowing him to know exactly how to plant his first step in the direction of the open running lane.
What is impressive about this play, is not only the initial burst and acceleration but the high-level of tenacity that Gaskin displays. He also maintains a very good pad level, keeping his shoulders below the eyes of the defender; which allows him to gain enough force to fight for extra yards.
Again versus Stanford, Gaskin is able to run between the tackles using very good vision and burst; however, it’s his pad level and competitive toughness that allow him to break through three defenders to gain extra yards.
Gaskin’s track experience manifests itself once he is in the open field. Once he is in the open field, he hits top speed quickly making it difficult for defenders to catch him. Not only does he display very good burst, acceleration, and explosion, but he has the speed to go with it. His timed 40-yard dash is in the range of a 4.5, but he plays much faster than that on the field. He doesn’t have just one or two gears, he has numerous gears that he uses strategically.
Gaskin’s speed is on display for this play vs Stanford. Once the handoff is executed, you can see that he sees the line of scrimmage very well and patiently watches as the holes develop. When he identifies that all the running lanes have collapsed, he hits that second gear to the outside. Once in the open field, he hits another gear, gaining enough speed to make it difficult to take him down.
Change of Direction:
The special thing about Gaskin is his lateral quickness. If a running lane closes, he’s able to shift gears, plant his foot, sink his hips and change direction without losing speed. Gaskin uses outstanding ankle flexion and the ability to shift his hips to redirect himself and create a new running lane instantaneously.
On this play vs Stanford, you can clearly see Gaskin accelerate on the handoff, stop on a dime, shift his hips to redirect himself and explode into the end zone. Gaskin’s natural leverage and bend, confirms his elite athletic ability.
Here you see Gaskin gain very good initial acceleration off the handoff while demonstrating very good burst through the hole. He quickly identifies what his blockers are giving him, and has enough wiggle and lateral agility to make the first initial defender miss.
Of all the impressive traits that were identified while evaluating Gaskin, his blocking ability came as a pleasant surprise. Not what you would expect from a running back that is 5’9″ and 192lbs according to www.gohuskies.com.
This play is impressive as Gaskin is able to anchor himself at the point of attack against an oncoming defender. He controls the initial contact by cushioning the impact, using very good leverage and functional strength.
Gaskin is again impressive as he is able to contain the oncoming safety by using his best version of a kick-and-slide while driving his hands into the shoulder pads of the defender. He sustains and maintains very good leverage on the move, allowing the quarterback to take advantage of the open lane.
Gaskin doesn’t have the tree trunk legs or thick frame that most successful running backs possess. Gaskin stands at 5’9″ and 192lbs. On film, you can see at times where his lack of size doesn’t allow him to generate a lot of power between the tackles. Unless he has built up speed and momentum, it is difficult for him to break tackles under his own strength. This could be even more challenging for him at the next level.
Gaskin’s lack of size doesn’t allow for much power between the tackles. It is difficult for him to break a tackle when hit in the backfield, or if he hasn’t gained enough momentum once between the tackles. His thin lower body does not facilitate enough ground generated power to plow through the defenders.
What does benefit him is his pad level, balance, and evident competitive toughness. His body may not allow him to maul over defenders, but he’s not afraid to take defenders head on. He keeps his legs churning and fights for every yard.
Gaskin is an impressive running back that is destined to have a great junior year. His outstanding work ethic and high character are intangibles that add to the laundry list of reasons to root for him. Gaskin possesses outstanding vision, instincts, and fluid lateral agility.
As a college running back, he is a perfect fit in the Huskies’ offense. It’s promising to see when Washington asked Gaskin to do more in the passing game, he excelled. Hopefully, they continue to use him more in the passing game in 2017. If Gaskin continues to stand out as a dominant runner, he could find himself within the top five of running backs for 2017.