O’Dea running back Myles Gaskin counting on experienced line
O’Dea senior running back Myles Gaskin has made it a point to get to know his offensive linemen, the guys who will be clearing the way for him this season. Gaskin has committed to play for UW.
Seattle Times staff reporter
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Meet Myles Gaskin’s teammates.
“Majid Firoozi, he’s scared to drive,” says Gaskin, a running back at O’Dea High School.
“Dylan Ledbetter loves to have a mullet and Che’lon Mclennan loves lifting more than anything, more than I love lifting. Seamus Courtney takes a ferry every day to school and he hates it. Getting up the hill to O’Dea is the hard part.”
Erik Fulleton “loves his video games. He plays them on the computer, on his Xbox.”
Firoozi and Fulleton are tackles, Ledbetter is the center and the guards are Courtney and Mclennan, who will split time with starter Joey Richards.
Gaskin is the ball carrier, the 5-foot-10, 195-pound player committed to the University of Washington, who runs a 4.5 40-yard dash and led the Metro League in rushing last season with 2,182 yards and 35 touchdowns. He averaged 199 yards as a junior and helped lead his team to a 12-1 record and the Class 3A state semifinals.
“He did a lot on his own last year because we had a completely new offensive line,” longtime coach Monte Kohler said. “He’s the hardest worker out here, he’s got a great understanding of the game and he’s a great team guy.”
As a running back, it’s your job to know what your offensive linemen can do because they’ll open the holes that will help you get your yards. How well you get to know them is entirely up to you.
Being at O’Dea, where the word “brotherhood” is stressed, Gaskin says he’s learned that working as a unit is key to improvement. And knowing these guys better, well, “You have to have trust in your teammates so they can help you out. You can’t expect people to help you out otherwise,” Gaskin said.
And getting to know them better and understanding them helps earn their trust.
“My parents taught me that and when I got here they really stressed brotherhood, togetherness,” Gaskin said.
So Gaskin spends time with his teammates on the field, in the weight room, at Denny’s or IHOP.
“We kick it at restaurants and play a lot of video games, too,” he said.
Experience on the O-line might help O’Dea improve on a successful 2013 campaign with four of five returning up front. Gaskin says his goal is an undefeated season but Kohler wants to avoid the mistake his team made last season by not taking each game as it came.
“It’s a subtle thing but we have to keep reminding them that it’s a day-by-day process,” Kohler said. “Last year we kept thinking about Bellevue and then looked past Eastside Catholic.”
O’Dea lost 28-14 in the semis to the Crusaders, a team it beat previously in the season, 63-45.
“It was just a bad day, I guess,” Gaskin said. “I don’t want to lose again.”
And neither do his teammates, the ones who like mullets, video games and weightlifting and hate walking up big hills.