Higdon spotted in FL, likely sitting out bowl

Submitted by Wolverine Devotee on December 18th, 2018 at 12:52 PM

A follower of mine on twitter sent me a photo of himself with Karan Higdon at the airport in Fort Lauderdale. 

Higdon said he’s down in FL working out. One can only assume the rumors are correct. Higdon is from Florida.

The Team isn’t on vacation either. They’re practicing for the Peach Bowl in Ann Arbor so....😔

Comments

cKone

December 18th, 2018 at 3:41 PM ^

Who's boyhood home and schoolhouse are located about a block from my rural home on the Ohio River:  https://www.ohiohistory.org/visit/museum-and-site-locator/us-grant-boyhood-home-schoolhouse

Grand Days are fun when I am jolted out of bed at 8:00 AM on a Saturday to the sound of the first hourly firing of the Civil War cannons.  

stephenrjking

December 18th, 2018 at 2:30 PM ^

Magnus might not agree with me on any of these points, but:

Higdon improved markedly as a blocker and was quite good at it this year. He wasn't quite Tru, but he had a number of excellent blocks that kept Shea's pockets clean.

He clocked a 4.4 time in Michigan's combine a couple of years ago. It remains to be seen if he can replicate that at the NFL combine; 4.4 is very good. It was visible on the field on plays where he just ran past defenders that would tackle slower runners. The winning TD against Indiana last year is a great example of this.

His speed should be fine. It's his vision and his ability to beat tacklers that will be in question. He runs hard, but he's not a tackle-breaking machine or anything. And while he's fast, he isn't agile enough to elude guys with explosive cuts. 

I suspect that he gets drafted in the mid-rounds and nicely complements someone's RB rotation; his blocking ability makes him a third-down asset. If things break right he can evolve into a steady starter; it's possible that he proves unable to make enough of his own yards to be a reliable every-down back. 

bronxblue

December 18th, 2018 at 3:06 PM ^

That's largely been my read as well.  He's a better athlete than I think people give him credit here; he has ran past guys who are NFL-caliber athletes and is physical enough to go through other ones.  When he gets ahold of someone he can hold up well blocking, and he's squat enough that I think the ability should translate to the NFL reasonably well (versus just a big guy who might not have a great sense of leverage).

But he's not great at reading holes and making guys miss when he gets there, and in the NFL you're going to need to be able to do that unless you are just a truck of a player (which Higdon isn't).  He's also not a particularly great receiver out of the backfield; he's certainly improved in that department, but his change-of-direction isn't where you see guys who are good catching out of the backfield.  

There definitely is a spot for him in the NFL, and my guess is he shows well at the combine and that will help.  I don't know why this name popped in my head, but he feels like a Jeremy Langford-type of RB.  They are different type of runners but both are about the same size and are more "pure" runningbacks than the hybrid guys you see in the NFL more and more now.

I wish him luck, and it was nice to see him mature into a good back at Michigan.  And I think it's smart for him to skip the bowl if he's worried about being hurt.  But there's also a ceiling for him as an NFL draft selection.

stephenrjking

December 18th, 2018 at 4:01 PM ^

One note about pass catching: I think that aspect of his game has yet to be fully explored. Michigan, for whatever reason, seemed allergic to fully utilizing RBs as receivers, despite having Chris Evans on the field frequently; when they did, Evans was the obvious, logical guy to fill that role. 

It's possible that Higdon never does develop receiving skill, but the fact that he didn't show much here, especially this year, doesn't tell me much. IMO.

bronxblue

December 18th, 2018 at 3:58 PM ^

Rice was at the tail end of the "you need a feature back who can carry the ball 25+ times and maybe catches a swing pass once or twice" era in the NFL; I don't think that model works anymore.  The Faulk/White comps are closer; I think it all comes down to if he can improve his hands and vision getting through the line, though he's not terrible at the latter.  It's why I think Evans will always be a "what if" at Michigan but will be more successful in the NFL, or at least have a better overall role, because a guy who can catch the ball and make guys miss in space are incredibly valuable now.

Magnus

December 18th, 2018 at 2:39 PM ^

Quick answer because I have to run:

I think Higdon's style carries over to the NFL. He's a decent back in all phases (running, catching, blocking). I don't know that he's a standout at the next level, but I think he can play.

Also, regarding some of the other comments in this thread, there's no shame in not being as good as Shea Patterson. It doesn't mean he's terrible. Josh Ross isn't as good of a linebacker as Devin Bush. Kwity Paye isn't as good as Chase Winovich. It happens.

Magnus

December 18th, 2018 at 7:54 PM ^

You can argue the MVP is "best player" or that he was most important to the team's success. Both arguments still tilt toward Patterson, IMO.

1. Shea Patterson was #4 in completion percentage, #2 in passer rating, and #3 in yards per attempt in the Big Ten. Karan Higdon was #17 in the Big Ten in yards per carry, as well as #8 in YPC among primary ball carriers.

2. IMO, if the team lost Higdon, they probably would have had close to the same record. If the team lost Patterson, well...we saw what happened last season. And Dylan McCaffrey, while seemingly better than the other options last year, showed that he might not have been durable enough to make it the entire season. We could have seen a replica of the 2017 season.

crg

December 18th, 2018 at 3:41 PM ^

Exactly.  People are conplaining, arguing the bowls are meaningless and just a matter of pride.  Pride matters, especially in college football.  The reason college football came into being and has such impassioned followers is school pride.  Even if that is the only reason to play, it should be sufficient for those who want to be here.

lhglrkwg

December 18th, 2018 at 2:41 PM ^

Amen. How short our memories are. Remember when Jake Butt got hurt in a bowl game vs FSU that no one nationally even remembers? Anyone who has real draft hopes and wants to sit out is ok with me.

Imagine graduating from Michigan with your 4 year degree and then participating in an exhibition after that could leave you with brain injuries and unable to use your brain and your degree in the workplace. A lot of these guys have been working toward the NFL for a long time. No sense putting it on the line for an exhibition if you don't want to. Even more so for a guy like Karan who already has a small family to feed.