A year ago, Salvon Ahmed announced his intent to play for the University of Washington. Reporter file photo

Juanita grad Ahmed rolls into his University of Washington career

Salvon Ahmed, a Juanita High School graduate, began his true freshman season for the University of Washington Huskies with a carry during their opening win at Rutgers University in New Jersey last week.

The Huskies started their season with a 30-14 win against Rutgers on Sept. 1 and will play against University of Montana on Saturday in their opening home game. Ahmed, who begins his freshman year at UW later this month, was involved in a few plays in last week’s game, but only ran the ball once.

“Salvon was probably the one guy that jumps out to me that we probably had more plans than two or three plays, whatever it was,” said Huskies’ head coach Chris Peterson at a press conference on Monday. “It was just unfortunate. He gets the ball (once) and it was no fault of his own. They just weren’t blocked right.”

Peterson was responding to a question about how happy he was getting 55 players into the game despite Ahmed and another freshman not seeing much action in their first game.

“Other than that, I think a lot of guys got in, and we want to play as many guys as we can, for sure,” Peterson said.

Ahmed’s biggest strength is his speed, according to his former coach Lele Te’o, who is the head football coach for JHS. Te’o said Ahmed had to adjust to playing high school football with bigger, faster and stronger players, but found his stride only halfway through his freshman year and then “blew up” as a junior running back for the Rebels.

Ahmed rushed for 1,300 yards and 13 touchdowns during his senior season at Juanita despite a hand injury that limited him to six games. According to Te’o, even with the injury, Ahmed went to every practice and team meeting and made sure his teammates could make it to and from practices and workouts.

“I haven’t seen a kid with that kind of burst,” said Te’o. “I’ve been doing this for a long time and I’ve never seen a kid with his kind of acceleration from stop to start, it’s just unbelievable. I haven’t seen a kid be able to keep top speed while running lateral as well.”

Te’o is going into his third season as the Juanita head coach, 10th season at Juanita and 18th season as football coach. Te’o has known Ahmed for nearly six years and knew he would be a great player ever since his first game.

“I got a chance to really get to know who he was as a kid and watched him all the way through (JHS), coached him all the way through here and now watching him just like everybody else else at UW…He’s one of my favorite kids to come through here,” Te’o said.

Te’o describes Ahmed as humble and mature beyond his years. Ahmed is very laid back off the field, but, according to Te’o, something special comes out of him for football.

“The kid is the hardest worker I’ve known, in the classroom, in the weight room, the personal training stuff he does, his discipline with his diet, discipline with his rest is unreal,” Te’o said. ”Part of that is beyond his years, you don’t see many 17 or 18-year-olds be that disciplined with what they do themselves and what they put in themselves.”

Ahmed was unavailable to speak with the Reporter as UW policy does not allow new players to speak with the press. According to Te’o, Ahmed plans to study communications at UW to get into sports TV.

“That’s kind of his passion,” Te’o said. “He’s a people person, he does pretty well in front of a camera and he’s not shy, so I think he’d do well there.”

Sports TV is only Ahmed’s backup plan as, according to Te’o, he has had a dream to make it to the NFL since eighth grade.

“His ultimate goal is the NFL,” Te’o said. “And who knows if you get there, you know a lot of that stuff is (uncertain) if you get injuries and stuff like that. But that kid, he’s got it, I believe he’s got the makeup to make it happen and he’s got the ability.”

Te’o said he is proud and excited to see where Ahmed goes from here. Ahmed was an unbelievable student and teammate during his high school years, he said.

“He’s an unbelievable kid, I love the kid and I love his work ethic…His hard work is definitely paying off for him and it’s fun to watch him go.” Te’o said. “I think at the end of the day, Salvon contributed a lot to this school as an athlete, but I think he contributed double that as a student and how he carried himself.”