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Out Of The Shadows: Bishop Sankey, Washington

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Bishop Sankey is quickly piling up rushing yards for Washington. Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images.
Bishop Sankey is quickly piling up rushing yards for Washington. Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images.

In Seattle, Keith Price and Austin SeferIan-Jenkins dominate the discussion when fans talk about Washington football. But the Huskies offense is not just a dynamic duo; it is a three-headed monster. This is because of the fantastic play of running back Bishop Sankey.

Sankey is a 5-foot-10, 200-pound junior running back who piled up 1,688 offensive yards in 2012, 1,439 of those yards coming on the ground. This season, Sankey is already off to a stellar start for the No. 16 Huskies.

Through three games, Sankey has 521 total yards (446 rushing), which is good for ninth in the nation in all-purpose yards per game (173.67 ypg). Among the top-10 players in that category, Sankey is one of only two with zero return yards, Colorado wide receiver Paul Richardson being the other. Also, if the list were limited strictly to offensive yards, Sankey would rank second, trailing only Western Kentucky’s Antonio Andrews. Sankey currently sits second in the nation in rushing yards per game (148.7) as well, trailing only Melvin Gordon of Wisconsin.

Sankey is a rare combination back who can run well, catch the ball out of the backfield and block on passing downs. Even with all of these abilities, Sankey still has great big-play potential. Sankey is currently averaging 7.0 yards per carry and has never averaged less than 5.0 yards per carry while compiling over 2,000 rushing yards in his career (currently 2,072 yards rushing).

Sankey is an explosive runner with a very good ability to find running lanes. He also does a very good job identifying cut-back lanes and exploiting them, turning them into big plays quite often. He is a surprisingly good route runner as a running back, and although he does not have wide receiver hands, he does have good hands for a back. One final attribute that sets Sankey apart from other running backs -- he is a very good pass blocker, using his stout frame to get inside rushers' pads and rarely misses the vital blocks.

Sankey is slowly making his case for more attention as Washington continues to rise up the Pac-12 rankings and up the polls by consistently delivering good play. Should Washington continue to win, Sankey might become a household name by the time the 2013 season is over.