PRO 2019 Rookie Spotlight: Karan Higdon, RB Michigan

Rookie Spotlight: Karan Higdon, Michigan
Height: 5’09″
Weight: 203
Hands: 9 5/8″
Arm: 30 1/2″
40 yard dash: 4.49 (projected)
NFL Comparison: Ameer Abdullah, Tre Mason

– extremely tough to bring down for a smaller back
– great contact balance
– runs with power

– running style could wear him down quickly
– hasn’t shown to be much of a receiver

Scouting Notes: Higdon isn’t the most talented of the backs entering the 2019 draft, but he is one of the most tenacious runners of the lot. He’s undersized for the role he played at Michigan, but don’t tell him or his would-be tacklersthat. Higdon runs with the power of a much larger back, seldom going down upon first contact. He keeps his legs churning through traffic until he sees his opening, then he’s off down the field. He’s compact, so he can withstand a little turbulence without straying off course. This is a good thing, because though he’s quick, Higdon lacks elite speed and he isn’t elusive in the sense that he completely avoids contact. He deflects contact, and that’s a form of elusiveness in itself, as he often stays on his feet throughout. Higdon’s blessing could also be seen as a curse. His smallish frame may not hold up under the stress of his bullish running style over time, especially if he’s in a 3-down role (one he’d have to put on 10 pounds to handle in a traditional manner). It would also do Higdon well to develop as a receiver, as that’s a tool that he will likely need in today’s NFL, given his size.

Fantasy Outlook: Higdon’s success in a premier Michigan football program in the Big 10 is the biggest boon for his draft chances. His strong showings against storied programs like Penn State and Nebraska on national TV have raised his profile considerably. That he can do damage against these teams also helps to mitigate the fact that he’s undersized. He probably won’t be drafted as a primary ball carrier despite his success, though. His profile is that of a back who is complimentary to another runner. If he can add a receiving component to his skill set, that would help his chances of staying on the field too. Ultimately, Higdon could end up surprising folks and becoming a major player in some team’s backfield. Just don’t count on him being healthy all the time or having a particularly long career, based off of his punishing running style. Not every smaller back in this mold is going to be able to hold up through an NFL season in the same way we saw Phillip Lindsay do in 2019.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Like all rookie profiles, this one will continue to be updated through the draft process with intel as we acquire it. When applicable/available, these profiles will be supplemented with transcriptions of scouting combine interviews with the players following the event.



• Attempts: 33 – at Michigan State, 2018
• Yards: 200 – (2x) last vs Minnesota, 2017
• Touchdowns: 3 – at Indiana, 2017
• Long: 77 – vs. Minnesota, 2017

• Catches: 2 – (2X) last at Maryland, 2017
• Yards: 48 – Maryland, 2017
• Touchdowns: None
• Long: 35 – Maryland, 2017

At Michigan
• Voted Team Captain by his teammates (2018)
• Three-year letterman (2015-16-17)
• Named the team’s 2017 Offensive Player of the Year
• Semifinalist, Doak Walker Award (2018)
• Semifinalist, Maxwell Award (2018)
• Two-time All-Big Ten honoree (first team, coaches and media, 2018; third team, coaches and media, 2017)
• All-Big Ten selection by the Associated Press (first team, 2018)
• Played in 39 contests with 19 starts at running back
• Carried the ball 511 times and rushed for 2,622 yards, scoring 27 touchdowns during his career
• Surpassed 2,000 yards rushing against Maryland (Oct. 6, 2018)
• Smashed through the single-season 1,000 yard barrier at Rutgers (Nov. 10, 2018) becoming U-M’s first running back to accomplish the feat since 2011
• Big Ten Co-Offensive Player of the Week (Oct. 6, 2017)
• With teammate Chris Evans, became the first pair of teammates to share a weekly conference award (Co-Big Ten Offensive Players of the Week) at the same position

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