Gaskin-Ahmed
Big Brother Little Brother: How Myles Gaskin and Salvon Ahmed Reunited in Miami and Helped Resurrect the Dolphins Running Game
College roommates turned professional teammates, Myles Gaskin and Salvon Ahmed are inseparable 
By Travis Wingfield Dec 31, 2020
Photographs By Miami Dolphins

Meeting Myles Gaskin and Salvon Ahmed today would reveal the obvious – they're best friends, and it makes sense. They played their high school ball just a quick 23-minute drive down I-405 in the greater Seattle area. They shared a backfield for two years at the University of Washington and now live in the same South Florida apartment complex as members of the Miami Dolphins.

But like Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly in the 2008 classic film Step Brothers, Gaskin and Ahmed had their own 'did we just become best friends' moment.

"I'm going to be absolutely honest, just off his Instagram, I didn't think I was going to like him," Gaskin said with a chuckle. "But after the first time we kicked it on his visit, we were dogs from Day 1. As soon as I met him face-to-face, we were boys; but on arrival I didn't know if I was going to like this dude."

Gaskin revealed this truth on Thursday's episode of Drive Time with Travis Wingfield. Naturally, the next question went to Salvon – did he know about this lackluster first impression?

"He told me later, but we had become so close that I just thought it was funny," Ahmed said.

Shared experiences and life goals helped forge a special bond between the pair of Pacific Northwest natives who now call Miami home, but it was another avenue that established the foundation for Gaskin and Ahmed's friendship.

Competition.

Even though O'Dea High School and Juanita High School never squared off during the prep overlap between Gaskin and Ahmed, both have little doubt about the hypothetical result would've been between the two Washington state high school football powers.

"I would've gave his team work," Ahmed said. "He knows. He knows."

"What?" Gaskin responded as if offended by the mere suggestion. "No you wouldn't have. We would've scraped y'all. We might've even skunked y'all."

That's usually when the conversations stop. Two years Gaskin's junior, Ahmed is happy to step up and compete, but he fills the role of little brother perfectly. He even attributes his recent success with the Dolphins to Gaskin's mentorship.

"Wherever you see Myles, you're probably going to see me," Ahmed said. "Blood couldn't make us any closer. I don't think I'd be where I am without him. That's how I feel about him. He taught me a lot when I got to (Washington), especially with how to work and just kind of following his footsteps. That's my dog. I love him and we couldn't be any closer."

The relationship grew its roots in the running backs room at Washington during Ahmed's freshman season. That same year, Gaskin would blow up the college football scene as a junior with 1,380 rushing yards and 24 total touchdowns.

More than his record-setting production, Gaskin was an integral part in establishing the culture Head Coach Chris Peterson sought to instill in the Huskies football program.

"Myles kind of started this culture in our running backs room of helping guys get better," Washington Running Backs Coach Keith Bhonapha said. "He was challenging guys but also leading by example with his effort. That helped Salvon to continue on his growth and kind of take the reins and understand what it means to be the starting running back at the University of Washington."

Ahmed took the controls in 2019 when Gaskin graduated and went on to the NFL. Coming off the 24 touchdown season as a junior, however, Gaskin chose to return to Washington despite receiving a draftable grade from an independent draft advisory committee.

Gaskin's return would eat significantly into Ahmed's workload, but the sophomore running back took a different approach than one might expect upon hearing that news.

"Watching how those guys came together, how they studied film together, how they challenged each other on the practice field, it was something special you don't usually get from two guys sharing the backfield today," Bhonapha said.

They competed and challenged each other every day in every session. Just as he did the three years prior, Gaskin piled up video game numbers – this time with 1,268 yards on the ground and 13 total touchdowns. Ahmed added seven touchdowns to the equation and 778 yards from scrimmage, forming one of the most dangerous backfield duos in the nation.

That was the vision Bhonapha calculated upon seeing these two gifted backs in high school. In addition to coaching the running backs, Bhonapha served as the recruiting coordinator at Washington. In fact, he was the first hire by Peterson when the two made the jump from the blue turf of Boise State to the Pac 12 and the University of Washington.

Bhonapha used a musical metaphor to describe what he saw when he was on the recruiting trail.

"Myles is real smooth," Bhonapha said. "It's going to look effortless when he changes directions and you can never get a clean hit on him. You think you're going to get a clean hit, but he kind of slips off and gets an extra three yards."

"Salvon would get the ball and go full speed at 100 miles per hour," he continued. "Jazz is smooth. You can relax to it; but it still gets the job done where hip hop is more in your face and you better figure it out because it's in your face right now."

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While the styles on the field might've been different, their character was undeniably kindred.

"As good as these guys are as football players, they're probably twice as good as people," Bhonapha said. "When it comes to how they carry themselves day-to-day, you never had to worry about them being in trouble. The way they treated everybody and the way they practiced every day."

Gaskin is happy to accept the leadership role and serve as a mentor-type to Ahmed, but it's definitely a balance.

"I was just trying to show 'Salv' the ropes, but he's a really good dude," Gaskin said. "He was always taking care of school where I was more last minute. He already had that mindset in him when he showed up."

Heading into his second year with the Dolphins, Gaskin carved out a role as Miami's feature back early in the 2020 campaign. As was the case for Gaskin early in his career, Ahmed had to start from square one and earn his way into a significant role, and it wouldn't happen with his first team.

Ahmed signed with the San Francisco 49ers after going undrafted in 2020. He was released in August and free to sign with any team. When the Dolphins showed interest, the decision to reunite with his best friend was an easy one.

But there was more to it than continuing the friendship. Ahmed wanted to get on the field and help the Dolphins win football games. And that's what he's done. His 122 rushing yards in the Week 15 win over the Patriots stands as the season-high for Miami this year and the most in a game by an undrafted rookie in Dolphins history.

"Getting my dog down in South Florida -- we've got our boys on the team but it's nothing like having somebody from back home that you can relate to," Gaskin said. "Having Salvon here is a world's difference to have someone to talk to about some things back home. It's been great."

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Re-joining forces in South Florida has ramped up the competition in the Gaskin-Ahmed rivalry, including the resurrection of their greatest shared past time – foot races.

Though he admits that Gaskin won the series, Ahmed believes his victory in the first midnight run sealed the deal. As college roommates, a late-night debate spilled over onto a nearby track for a five-race, winner-take-all series.

"I won the first one, the most important one," Ahmed said.

"I wasn't warmed up yet," Gaskin refuted. "You're young. You can hop out the car and go race. I'm a little older, so I've gotta warm up and stretch out and stuff. Once I was loose, I was doggin'."

As an older brother would often do, Gaskin couldn't leave it alone with the five races.

"We've raced a good amount of times. He knows what it is," Gaskin said. "State championship 4x1, 2015. Look it up."

The Huskies' leading rushers from 2015-2019 were one of two names: Gaskin or Ahmed. Now, the pairing are the Dolphins' top-two leading rushers and were responsible for 299 yards from scrimmage in Miami's recent two-game winning streak; a streak that has the team one game away from a postseason berth.

"I had to come out here and make the team," Ahmed said. "It was a long journey, it's still a long journey. We both know we have a lot to do and I couldn't be more thankful for it."

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