USA Today Sports Season Awards - Running Back

Now that the regular season is complete and the No. 4 Washington Huskies begin preparations to slay Goliath - aka No. 1 Alabama - in the Peach Bowl on New Year's Eve, the guys from start their yearly review with their thoughts on every position group. We started Monday with the quarterbacks: now we're on to the running backs.

Luke Mounger - Intern

RB MVP: Myles Gaskin

This was a toss up for me, but I decided Gaskin was deserving of this accolade because of his consistency. He never had fewer than 12 carries, while Coleman only had more than 12 carries once. Lavon has many great performances, but Gaskin was a reliable contributor throughout the duration of the season.

RB Most Improved: Lavon Coleman

Who would have thought that Lavon Coleman, a big, bruiser of a back, would be one of the biggest big play threats on the team? There isn’t a team in the country that wouldn’t love 836 yards on 107 carries from their second running back. He did more than just give Gaskin the occasional break; he dragged defenders for a stellar 7.8 yards per carry.

RB Waiting in the Wings: Kamari Pleasant

The last player to commit in UW’s class of 2016 was one of the most intriguing signees. He’s built like a back that’s primed to absorb the bangs and bruises of PAC-12 football, and he’s only getting bigger. I’m curious to see where he factors into next year’s pecking order. That partially depends on whether or not there’s any attrition at the running back position. If, for example, Lavon Coleman decided to declare for the draft after his successful junior season, Pleasant would be an excellent candidate to take a few carries as the big back.

©M. Samek / SCOUT

Scott Eklund - Recruiting Editor

RB MVP: Myles Gaskin

Had to go with the sophomore as he was named to the First Team All-Pac 12 after he rushed for 1,339 yards and 10 touchdowns, leading the Huskies in both categories. It took a few games for Gaskin to really get untracked and he took a backseat to Lavon Coleman on a couple of occasions, but there is no question in my mind he was the MVP of this group over the course of the entire season. 

RB Most Improved: Lavon Coleman

He was monstrous for the Huskies in their game vs. Arizona and his two big touchdown runs vs. Washington State were back breakers. I think what impressed me most was the fact that Coleman looked faster and more agile than he had the previous two seasons. You could make a serious argument that he was the MVP of this group, but he was a nice change-of-pace compared to what Gaskin brought to the table.

RB Waiting in the Wings: Sean McGrew/Kamari Pleasant

The two-headed monster has drawn rave reviews from the coaches for their work this fall. Even though they were both redshirting, apparently their talent was very evident and they're expected to challenge for snaps next fall. McGrew is lightning in a bottle, but he's on the small side, while Pleasant will be the "Thunder" portion of the duo.
©M. Samek / SCOUT

Chris Fetters - Editor

RB MVP: Myles Gaskin

After the first four games of the 2016 season, it looked like Gaskin would be mired in a bit of a sophomore slump. But after a strong Stanford showing Myles broke out at Oregon. Ever since then he's been back to the Gaskin of old, the one that was the first true freshman to ever run for over 1000 yards at Washington. His 2016 statistics are nearly identical to 2015, but he shared more of the running load with Lavon Coleman. If Coleman does test the pro waters, there's no doubt Gaskin will be the one with that load squarely set on his shoulders. And he's good enough now to be that guy. 

RB Most Improved: Lavon Coleman

Every Washington fan has to love how Lavon Coleman has come good in 2016. After being the second leading rusher to Dwayne Washington in 2014 as a true freshman, big things were expected from Coleman last year. But he never got on track, even though he played in all 13 games. Instead it became the Myles Gaskin show. But after redeveloping his body and getting back to his old self, Coleman has been nothing short of sensational. The last player in the Pac-12 to average as many yards as Coleman has per carry was Reggie Bush. That should tell you something about the year he's had. And that's not even mentioning how valuable he has been in special teams. 

RB Waiting in the wings: Jomon Dotson

More was expected out of the sophomore, but once Lavon Coleman got untracked versus Arizona the writing was on the wall. There's no question Dotson should be the next guy up in 2017, especially if Coleman makes the expected jump to the NFL. He has the speed and the ability to be a threat on the ground and through the air. 

©M. Samek / SCOUT

Kim Grinolds - CEO

RB MVP: Myles Gaskin

Myles just gets it done. He gets the tough yards. He's patient. He just grinds you down and wears you out. You may stop him for a bit, but he'll eventually break one . And when he does, it breaks your will. He may be small, but he doesn't lack power. He'll lower his shoulder and pound you. He's the perfect compliment and set up guy for Lavon Coleman. Gaskin finished the year with 1,339 yards, 103 mpg and averaged 5.9 yards per carry and added 10 rushing touchdowns.

RB Most improved: Lavon Coleman

A year ago there were whispers Coleman might leave. He hadn't lived up to expectations. He was a Sark recruit and may not have bought in to Petersen's methods. The first game of the year he was behind Jomon Dotson on the depth but he finished the year averaging 7.8 yards per carry and 836 total yards. No idea what his yards after contact were, but he's as tough and physical runner as we've seen since Chris Polk. He doesn't go down on first contact. He just doesn't. It's been a great year for Lavon Coleman.

USA Today Sports

RB Waiting in the wings: Jomon Dotson

Dotson showed flashes early on. He still needs to add a few pounds, but he really showed some flashes. He definitely has the speed. He could really add a dynamic element to the team next year with his speed.
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