We're off and running:
— Adam Shadoff (@AdamShadoff) February 4, 2015
Sarasota (FL) Riverview RB Karan Higdon, who visited Ann Arbor last weekend, flipped to Michigan from Iowa this morning after it previously appeared he'd stay with the Hawkeyes. Higdon becomes the 11th commit in the class and the first at running back. According to Sam Webb, his decision won't affect that of Cass Tech RB Mike Weber.
UPDATE: Or not.
— Steve Wiltfong (@SWiltfong247) February 4, 2015
|3*, #84 RB||3*, #45 RB||3*, 78, #70 RB||4*, 90, #29 RB||
3*, #40 RB,
Rivals and 247, especially the latter, are relatively high on Higdon, while the other two services have him as a lower-tier three-star.
Every site but Scout, which has him ten pounds lighter, lists him at 5'10", 180 pounds.
For a prospect who's made two earlier commitments (he also made an early pledge to USF), there's suprisingly little scouting out there on Higdon. Scout's Jamie Newberg has a free commitment capsule from when Higdon chose Iowa:
There is so much to like about Higdon. He’s pretty put together for his size. Higdon runs hard and is decisive. He’s not a dancer and you won’t see him going east-west but north-south. Higdon hits the hole and hits it hard.
Lets start from the bottom up. He has good feet, quick feet. Higdon has a strong lower body and runs with deceptive power. He’s thick up top and will only get bigger. I also like his vision. Higdon possesses good speed and quickness. He can also make defenders miss.
Higdon can also catch the ball out of the backfield.
A lack of top-end speed is Newberg's top concern. That's echoed in his ESPN evaluation, which likes his vision, shiftiness, and North-South running and concludes thusly ($):
Higdon is a 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. Could develop into an every-down back with added size and some growth but if that does not happen we see more of a complementary back who can fit into a number of schemes.
Hawkeye 247's Andrew Kulha has a detailed, free scouting report that you should check out in full. He's most impressed with Higdon's power and finish:
For as agile and quick is Higdon is at 5-foot-10, 190 pounds; he's still a very tough runner and you've gotta think that's what set him apart from other running back targets in the eyes of the Hawkeyes. He has strong legs that defenders bounce off of when trying to tackle low on him, he's not afraid to lower his shoulders, and he does a great job of using his off-hand to keep would-be tacklers off him. Whether it's a swipe, a rip or a pure stiff-arm, Higdon does a great job of using his off arm. He's almost too good at it, but we'll get into that later.
Higdon doesn't go down on first contact. In-fact, he runs through contact, which is something that you like to see from a running back prospect. He has a tendency to fall forward, which speaks to his awareness and maturity as a runner, and he has an above-average spin move that he utilizes to pick up extra yards.
Higdon may not be a home-run threat, but the rest of his game looks pretty solid; he might not wow you but he finds a way to get upfield.
Higdon held offers from Arizona, Arkansas, Iowa Kentucky, Nevada, South Carolina, USF, Syracuse, Tennessee, UCF, and Wake Forest, among others.
Higdon is one of two three-star propsects to come out of Riverview, along with 2008 Central Michigan signee Jahleel Addae.
I couldn't find senior stats in a quick search. Scout says that Higdon rushed for 987 yards (5.3 YPC) and 15 TDs on 185 carries as a junior despite missing three games.
FAKE 40 TIME
247 lists a 4.5-flat, which gets four FAKEs out of five.
Junior highlights and single-game reels can be found on his Hudl page.
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
Michigan has enough depth at running back that Higdon should be able to redshirt. From there he'll have to work his way into the rotation alongside Derrick Green, DeVeon Smith, Drake Johnson, and Ty Isaac. He could find an early role as a situational back before making a run at the starting job.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
Michigan now sits at 11 commits, and despite the impending numbers crunch Webb stated they'd still take Mike Weber. Other potential signees include CBs Jarius Adams and Keith Washington, ATH Tyrone Wheatley Jr., DE Shelton Johnson, and WR Van Jefferson, with outside-at-best shots at CB Iman Marshall and LB Roquan Smith. Chris Clark already announced his decision for UCLA.