Saturday, June 6, 2015

2015 Season Countdown: #85 Karan Higdon

Name: Karan Higdon
Height: 5'10"
Weight: 190 lbs.
High school: Sarasota (FL) Riverview
Position: Running back
Class: Freshman
Jersey number: N/A
Last year: Higdon was a senior in high school. He was a 247 Composite 3-star, the #40 running back, and #478 overall.
TTB Rating: 73

Higdon was a late success story for the new coaching staff this winter. He had been a Hawkeye commit, but he was interested in Michigan for a while without reciprocation. Jim Harbaugh extended an offer just before National Signing Day, and Higdon fought through a snowstorm and some travel issues to make it to Ann Arbor. Leading up to NSD, it was a question of whether he would stick with Iowa or flip to Michigan, and obviously he sent his National Letter of Intent to the Wolverines. Higdon is a slightly undersized back who has good vision and runs tough, though he lacks great speed.

Michigan's situation this year is an intriguing one. There are two very highly touted recruits (Derrick Green, Ty Isaac) with experience, last year's leading rusher returns (De'Veon Smith), and Drake Johnson made a late-season push before tearing his ACL for a second time. Yet three of the four guys have been hampered by injuries at one point or another, none has been outstanding, and the job remains up for grabs. It would be a surprise if Higdon were to beat out all those guys, although it's not impossible. It would probably be best for him to redshirt, let the situation in front of him play itself out, and then have an extra year to make an impact down the road.

Prediction: Redshirt


  1. I'm gong to disagree on the likelihood of Higdon redshirting. Ultimately it comes down to whether he's ready to contribute, but there are reasons to play him right away. The depth at RB isn't great if Drake Johnson isn't ready and it's a position that sees a lot of rotation and more than its fair share of injuries. Class balance is another factor. He's the only RB in two classes with multiple guys on his heels.

    1. I don't think the 2016 class has any effect on choosing whether to play a running back or not. For one thing, it's not rare to see a guy redshirt, play three years, and then depart after his redshirt junior season. And second, we have no way of knowing whether Davis/Falcon/Enis will all stay committed or whether they will all remain at running back.

      I think coaches make decisions based mainly on their current team. So if Higdon doesn't offer something that the other guys lack - and I don't think he does - then there's no reason to play him.

      I also do not believe that Isaac/Green/Smith/Johnson will all play out their careers in a Michigan uniform.

    2. The thing Higdon has to his advantage is that he is Harbaugh's guy. JH won't feel obligated to the incumbents. He may not start, but I'd be surprised if he red-shirts.

      Green and Smith are entering their JR years and would have to give up a Michigan degree and sit a year on the bench (unless they transfer down and out of D1) to transfer. That seems pretty unlikely to me. Johnson has a red-shirt in his pocket and could be a grad-year transfer, but as an AA native it seems less than likely to skip town. Isaac has already transferred once, but seems the most likely candidate - for his grad school transfer.

    3. If Higdon plays this year it means our RB crew is a lot worse than most assume. Drake is the only guy I trust to be anything above average thus far (small sampling size but still) but you have to assume Isaac or Green does something this year. I know the staff seemed to favor Smith in the spring but he is what he is - a hard worker who is very slow. But you dont take a RS off someone to compete for 4th string RB.

      Unless Higdon is Mike Hart 2.0 I dont see any reason he doesnt RS.

  2. Having never played organized football, I do not know what it's like to be someone like Higdon ... down on the depth chart with little prospect of playing.

    However, I suspect it is like other things in that there are the "A" team leaders (in football talk, the ones who start), and the "B" team ... the B team being those who do not bask in glory but work and contribute to the overall objective.

    I would imagine it is the role of the coaches and assistants to watch players like Higdon and see how they contribute as B players -- whether they show up, work hard, and don't complain. Those who get tagged as slackers must lead an unappealing life as a football player.

    Where Higdon falls on this spectrum, I don't know. I'm just fascinated by the dynamics of a 100+ player team (some scholarship, some not) and how people form into the groups that play and those that support.

    1. I wouldn't assume he's down on the depth chart just yet. New coaching staff, new QB, new (at least reshuffled) OL, etc. Let the kid hit campus first.

  3. thats the beauty of the game and why winning rings will always be so special

  4. Ty Isaac has less experience than Green, Smith, and Johnson and barely more than Higdon.

    I don't see much benefit in red-shirting a RB. Michigan does have a lot of backs, but they always have a lot of backs. I would expect Higdon to get thrown right into the mix for carries from day 1. Who comes out on top is anyone's guess but I'd slot Higdon in as 3rd most likely behind Smith and Green. Isaac, Shallman, and Johnson have size and health questions.

  5. The 3rd down job is COMPLETELY wide open. I don't know if Higdon is the answer (generally pass protection is where veteran experience can help a good bit) but I think this is a little low for any RB given all the uncertainty.

    Anyway, there's not much to gain from red-shirting RBs. Generally - you either have it or you don't. If Higdon is buried on the depth chart, all you're doing is saving him for a grad school transfer (i.e., training him for someone else.)

    I would say Malzone, for one, is far more likely to red-shirt.

  6. He really does take you straight to Mike Hart with the pinball thing, the jump cut move and the holding on to the football for dear life while churning forward. Then of course there's the getting caught from behind thing that pretty much seals the comparison.