2015 Recruiting: Karan Higdon Comment Count

Brian August 12th, 2015 at 4:03 PM

Previously: Last year's profiles, S Tyree Kinnel, CB Keith Washington, DE Shelton Johnson, DE Reuben Jones, OL Nolan Ulizio, OL Grant Newsome, OL Jon Runyan Jr., TE Tyrone Wheatley Jr., WR Brian Cole, WR Grant Perry.

       
Sarasota, FL – 5'10", 190
       

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Scout 3*, NR overall
#84 RB
Rivals 3*, NR overall
#45 RB, #77 FL
ESPN 3*, NR overall
#70 RB, #108 FL
24/7 4*, NR overall
#29 RB, #43 FL
Other Suitors Iowa, Arizona, Ark, Tenn, MD
YMRMFSPA Mike Hart
Previously On MGoBlog Hello post from Ace. Higdon's coach gave us the lowdown on how his flip went down.
Notes Decommitted from both USF and Iowa.

Film

Senior:

Also junior highlights.

Karan Higdon was part of the Mike Weber signing day chaos. With Weber's decision balanced on a molecule-wide knife edge, Higdon's signing day flip from Iowa pushed him over to the dark side, until he went back to the light side, until he went back to the dark side, and so forth and so on. That doesn't have anything to do with him as a prospect, but you can be sure the two guys will be compared to each other by Michigan fans for the duration of their careers.

As far as Hidgon himself goes, he is a compact, darting runner with a smooth jump cut. Running back highlight tape is the most useful of all highlight tapes because it gives you a pretty good sense of what Back X is like when he's running good, and Higdon is somewhat reminiscent of Fitzgerald Toussaint—sophomore Fitzgerald Toussaint, before he was Poor Damn Toussaint and then Pass Blocking Double Agent Toussaint. He also gives off a bit of a Mike Hart aura, though I hesitate to invoke him in comparisons because Hart was sui generis.

But Hart must be mentioned when a 5'10" guy under 200 pounds is so frequently described as a power back. Scout Florida guy Corey Bender:

“Karan Higdon is more your North and South type runner. He's not a home run hitter. He’s well put together."

ESPN:

…sturdy and durable. Shows above average speed in the second level but not elite … wastes little time getting North and hitting the downhill seam. Shows better than adequate vision to stretch and cut back in the second level. … Shows good feet in the hole to jump-cut and make the first defender miss.  … Hits the hole with authority and runs hard North-South. Does a good job lowering his pads on contact, absorbing the hit and continuing his forward progress. …productive inside runner with the burst to open up the run game outside but we do not see a big-play element at this stage.

"Better than adequate" is ESPN's funny way of saying "good."

Scout's Jamie Newberg:

runs hard and is decisive. He’s not a dancer and you won’t see him going east-west but north-south … has good feet, quick feet. Higdon has a strong lower body and runs with deceptive power. … I also like his vision. Higdon possesses good speed and quickness. He can also make defenders miss. … not an explosive, home run hitter.

Clint Brewster:

Higdon is a between-the-tackles hard nosed running back with excellent vision. He waits patiently on the hole and plants and drives upfield with good toughness. Higdon should fit well in Harbaugh's ground and pound running game, with his tough and rugged style. Higdon shows good lateral movement through the hole and a good quick twitch once he gets out in the open, although he's not a back with long speed.

Tim Drevno pretty much agrees:

"Karan is a power back, a physical runner -- he's got great instinct and football awareness with real good vision. He does a great job of lowering his pads especially when he's entering the goal line area. He is a real smart young man who had a 4.0 in high school."

These all say the same very positive things; like Grant Perry the ensuing rankings are underwhelming largely because of a lack of wow experience in his physical package. Running backs Higdon's size are almost always placed in the meh bin unless they have the game-breaking ability each one of these scouting reports strives to point out he does not.

The exception is 247, which had him a four star. Josh Newberg, who works for the USF 247 site, gives an indication as to why when Higdon was a Bulls commit:

5. Every class seems to come down to a few make-or-break kids… Who are those kids for the Bulls…?

USF has an incredible player committed to them in Karan Higdon. He's a running back that could make an even bigger impact than Marlon Mack has. Higdon is explosive, strong and has the ability to score from anywhere on the field. He also has excellent hands and could even be a slot receiver if he wanted to.

Right now there isn't a more talented player that USF is recruiting.

Steve Lorenz also named him the toughest incoming recruit to keep off the field—a statement that means something when Michigan has lots of options in front of him. 

Though it may be odd for a guy everyone just described as a power back, I wouldn't be surprised to see Higdon get a serious look as a third down back as early as next year. Squat guys with good short-area burst are often the best pass blockers, as they can get to the spot they need to get and then undercut the blitzer they've been tasked with picking up. Vincent Smith and Mike Hart, Michigan's best blitz pickup guys in recent memory, both fit that mold.

Etc.: Awkward:

Even when he was committed to USF, Higdon praised the Iowa program. Now that he's officially committed to the Hawkeyes though, you really can't ask for a better spokesperson.

Higdon watches every game and he always has something good to say, even when Iowa loses. He believes in the program and he believes in what he can do with the Hawkeyes. In fact, he has so much faith in Iowa that he's already creating some lofty goals for himself. … He's clearly all-in with the Hawkeyes, and that's not something you see out of recruits all that often.

Will wear #22. 967 yards and 15 TDs as a junior.

Why Mike Hart? Mostly explained above. Higdon is a compact, shifty gentleman with uncanny power for a player his size. If he never fumbles, always squeezes out two more yards than is reasonable, ruthlessly destroys blitzing linebackers, and recovers Ryan Mallett fumbles for first downs, then he can be Mike Hart.

Fitzgerald Toussaint is also a reasonable comparable. Toussaint was a one-cut zone back with an explosive burst. Higdon sounds less likely to break a long one and more likely to squeeze out an extra yard or two after contact.

Guru Reliability: Moderate. No projection but big spread here from four star to "not even in the top 100 in Florida."

Variance: Low. Projects to HS position, reportedly has excellent vision already, healthy.

Ceiling: Moderate-plus. Not a gamebreaker, quoth everyone. Still could end up a highly efficient Harbaugh back.

General Excitement Level: Moderate-plus. Like Perry, seems like a good bet to be a contributor for an extended period of time. Good late pickup in the situation M found themselves in because he gives a relatively high floor at the position going forward.

Projection: With four backs in front of him, none of whom are seniors, you'd have to think a redshirt is an option. Excellent backs can bust through legions of upperclassmen, though, and it's not like anyone currently on the roster has established much of a claim on the job. If he impresses in fall camp could definitely get a 100 or so carries… and signal that the RB spot is going to experience some attrition.

Comments

Bodogblog

August 12th, 2015 at 4:15 PM ^

This kid is jacked up, saw him at Kid's Day.  He looks like he's been in a college weight program for three years.  If that's all effort, great.  If he's born with it, great.  He's not very tall, but he's cut to pieces.  

Based on the poster who was his high school coach, the kid's work ethic is what sets him apart.  If he can pick through traffic and find the holes the OL gives him (and no one else really steps up to do the same), he can absolutely play this year. 

MLaw06

August 12th, 2015 at 4:19 PM ^

I like him because of the whole MGoBlog aspect to his recruiting.  I like how we heard about him on here first before the coaches heard about him.  If he can pull a Mike Hart and dominate as a freshmen, that would be exciting...

CoverZero

August 12th, 2015 at 4:23 PM ^

I like Karan's film alot.  He has excellent feet, burst and vision.  He is also a 4.0 student and is a hard working kid.  He may be the most "athletic" back on the roster (outside of Johnson) end up being the "wild card" in the race for carries this season.

According to that ESPN Mag article last week, Weber freaked out and decided to go to OSU once he found out that Harbs was bringing Karan in.  I think that is great, because he is so fearful of competition on the roster, that he would decide to not attend Michigan.  Harbaugh wants competitors on the roster.

Padog

August 12th, 2015 at 4:48 PM ^

This is a guy I would love to see redshirt. I don't see him being strides ahead of the competition so it would be worth him taking a year to get adjusted. The he can break in the next year as a third down back. Once he learns the pass protection he should be very good.

Sent from MGoBlog HD for iPhone & iPad

The Mad Hatter

August 12th, 2015 at 4:53 PM ^

I'll take a smart, hardworking, player any day of the week.  I think he'll do great here, and get a lot of playing time later on.  Meanwhile, a certain RB from Detroit will ride pine at OSU until he transfers to Akron.

Esterhaus

August 12th, 2015 at 4:53 PM ^

With Mike Hart after watching some of Higdon's video, including the Lakewood game. Karan runs until he's about to hit the turf and then he naturally extends an arm, launches and goes the extra yard unless he pops back up somehow and continues on running. No idea whether Higdon will play this year but barring injuries he'll contribute in the future especially during tough games when the breaks are going against us. Smart in the classroom and on field, centered and dedicated - a good pickup who should respond well to this staff.

Honk if Ufer M…

August 12th, 2015 at 5:15 PM ^

He's tough for all the reasons Johnny Cash mentioned in the song he wrote about this guy: A Boy Named Karan

My daddy left home when I was three
And he didn't leave much to ma and me
Just this old guitar and an empty bottle of booze.
Now, I don't blame him cause he run and hid
But the meanest thing that he ever did
Was before he left, he went and named me "karan."

Well, he must o' thought that is quite a joke
And it got a lot of laughs from a' lots of folk,
It seems I had to fight my whole life through.
Some gal would giggle and I'd get red
And some guy'd laugh and I'd bust his head,
I tell ya, life ain't easy for a boy named "Karan."

Well, I grew up quick and I grew up mean,
My fist got hard and my wits got keen,
I'd roam from town to town to hide my shame.
But I made a vow to the moon and stars
That I'd search the honky-tonks and bars
And kill that man who gave me that awful name.

Well, it was Gatlinburg in mid-July
And I just hit town and my throat was dry,
I thought I'd stop and have myself a brew.
At an old saloon on a street of mud,
There at a table, dealing stud,
Sat the dirty, mangy dog that named me "Karan."

Well, I knew that snake was my own sweet dad
From a worn-out picture that my mother'd had,
And I knew that scar on his cheek and his evil eye.
He was big and bent and gray and old,
And I looked at him and my blood ran cold
And I said: "My name is 'Karan!' How you been farin'!
Now your gonna die!!"

Well, I hit him hard right between the eyes
And he went down, but to my surprise,
He come up with a knife and cut off a piece of my ear.
But I busted a chair right across his teeth
And we crashed through the wall and into the street
Kicking and a' gouging in the mud and the blood and the beer.

I tell ya, I've fought tougher men
But I really can't remember when,
He kicked like a mule and he bit like a crocodile.
I heard him laugh and then I heard him cuss,
He went for his gun and I pulled mine first,
He stood there lookin' at me and I saw him smile.

And he said: "Son, this world is rough
And if a man's gonna make it, he's gotta be tough
And I knew I wouldn't be there to help ya along.
So I give ya that name and I said goodbye
I knew you'd have to get tough or die
And it's the name that helped to make you strong."

He said: "Now you just fought one hell of a fight
And I know you hate me, and you got the right
To kill me now, and I wouldn't blame you if you do.
But ya ought to thank me, before I die,
For the gravel in ya guts and the spit in ya eye
Cause I'm the son-of-a-bitch that named you "Karan.'"

I got all choked up and I threw down my gun
And I called him my pa, and he called me his son,
And I came away with a different point of view.
And I think about him, now and then,
Every time I try and every time I win,
And if I ever have a son, I think I'm gonna name him
Bill or (General Bo) George (Patton Schembechler)! Anything but Karan! I still hate that name!
 

True Blue Grit

August 12th, 2015 at 5:21 PM ^

recruiting class.  Everything I've read about him is positive.  Great student.  Works extremely hard.  Stays out of trouble.  Great attitude.  I'd be fine with him redshirting.  But I expect him to do a lot for the program before he's done here.  (And get his degree)

YoOoBoMoLloRoHo

August 12th, 2015 at 7:34 PM ^

play requires him to elude 1-2 guys behind the LOS and still have to deal with 3-4 tacklers. Almost every yard is YAC.

It's also tough to judge speed, but he seems faster than Hart. I actually see some similarities with Tyler Gaffney (who was a tad larger), which worked just fine in the Stanford O.

Crisler 71

August 13th, 2015 at 10:24 AM ^

 He waits patiently on the hole and plants and drives upfield with good toughness.

 

No more running into the back of the tackle or guard and getting stopped there.

Mr. Owl

August 13th, 2015 at 8:22 PM ^

My unprofessional opinion is that KH will end up being a very solid, productive backup.  There shouldn't be need for him to see the field this season with the depth currently there.  If he plays this season, I hope it's due to his being MUCH better than your average freshman rather than the best option among the backs.

I'm not knocking the young man, I just hope there is no need to bring him along too quickly.