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Posts Tagged ‘National Signing Day’

Recruiting profile: 2015 RB signee Karan Higdon

Friday, February 6th, 2015

Karan Higdon

Previously: 2015 TE Chris Clark, 2015 CB Iman Marshall, 2015 QB Zach Gentry

Karan Higdon – RB | 5-10, 190 | Sarasota, Fla. – Riverview
ESPN: 3-star, #70 RB Rivals: 3-star, #45 RB 247: 4-star, #29 RB Scout: 3-star, #84 RB
Other top offers: Iowa, Arizona, Tennessee, Arkansas, Syracuse, South Florida, Kentucky, Nevada

One of the first commits flipped to Michigan on National Signing Day, Karan Higdon swapped Hawkeye black and gold for the maize and blue of Michigan in the early hours of Wednesday morning. The diminutive running back out of Riverview High School in Sarasota, Fla. offers eye-brow raising athleticism to a Michigan backfield that is stocked with powerful runners the likes of Derrick Green, Ty Isaac, De’Veon Smith, and possibly Drake Johnson. Higdon brings a different dimension to the Wolverines’ stable of backs, but may not have the overall ability to make much a difference in his collegiate career.

Inside Running

Inside Running - Karan HigdonHigdon measures in at approximately 5’9” and 185-pounds, by no means an intimidating, downhill runner. Higdon shows very good burst out of his stance and getting through holes between the tackles. However, he rarely is able to break one-on-one tackles and relies on his ability to dance away from defenders than to run through them. Higdon is able to lower his pads into contact and shows the determination to run his legs on contact, but will have to make his mark outside of the tackles to be an impactful running back.

Outside Running

Outside Running - Karan HigdonHigdon’s athletic ability as an outside of the box runner made him dangerous at the high school level and he shows the ability to transition that ability into forcing opposing defenses to respect his ability to make plays on the outside. Higdon has very good jump-cutting ability and impressive stop-start transition to elude would-be tacklers. While he has good speed, Higdon won’t make anyone forget about the likes of Chris Rainey and LaMichael James, both of whom had electric speed to outrun angles and take the perimeter with ease. Higdon will need to improve his ability to read blocks and find running lanes in order fully take advantage of his athletic gifts.


Catching - Karan HigdonThough rarely used in the passing game, Higdon showed flashes of pass catching ability at Riverview High. Higdon has a small catching radius, but is able to catch the football outside of his frame and has the quick acceleration to pick up big yards after the catch.


Blocking - Karan HigdonFew running backs the size of Higdon are effective pass blockers at the collegiate level and Higdon is no exception. While he shows a willingness to get in the way and will get out in front of his quarterback when scrambling, Higdon simply lacks the strength and stature at this point to fill the third down back void left by the departure of graduate transfer Justice Hayes.

Bottom Line

Michigan has several running backs on scholarship who have the potential to become above average rushers at the collegiate level, and Karan Higdon is one of them. However, Higdon is somewhat of a one-trick pony who relies on his speed and athleticism to make plays with the ball in his hands and doesn’t have the tools to succeed between the tackles. Look for Higdon to become a complementary piece in the backfield within the next couple of seasons as a threat to stretch the field horizontally.

MG&B Grade (out of 10)
8.0 (3-star)

As the first running back commitment since the 2013 class, and a signing day surprise at that, Higdon should become a fan favorite at Michigan. His high school coach — a Michigan fan — posted on MGoBlog a long description of Higdon’s recruitment and how Michigan landed him. You should definitely check it out if you haven’t already.


Alex is currently a senior at UM-Dearborn and has a background in scouting and player evaluation, having learned from some of the best in the business. He contributes a weekly recruit profile/evaluation piece each Friday. Visit our Meet the Staff page to read more about Alex.

New in Blue: 2015 tight end/defensive end Tyrone Wheatley Jr.

Wednesday, February 4th, 2015

Tyrone Wheatley Jr(

Tyrone Wheatley Jr. – TE/DE | 6-6, 260| Manlius, N.Y. – Canisius
ESPN: 4-star, #12 TE Rivals: 4-star, #13 TE 247: 4-star, #13 TE Scout: 4-star, #25 DE
Other top offers: Alabama, USC, UCLA, Oregon, Auburn, Florida, Florida State, Miami, Nebraska

The new Michigan coaching staff is keeping it in the family with a commitment from legacy recruit Tyrone Wheatley Jr on National Signing Day. The son of the former Michigan great and current running backs coach pledged his commitment on Wednesday afternoon after a long recruitment that came down to Michigan and UCLA.

Wheatley is a consensus four-star recruit according to the four major recruiting sites. ESPN ranks him as the 12th-best tight end in the class, while Rivals and 247 rank him 13th. Scout ranks him as the 25th-best defensive end in the class. Scout’s Brian Dohn had this to say about Wheatley:

“Wheatley plays tight end and defensive end, but he looks more comfortable and natural on defense. He gets off the ball quickly, but sometimes gets upright too quickly. Wheatley has the size to overpower an offensive tackle, and also can use his speed to get around the edge. In addition, he can run a play down from behind and is versatile enough to move inside and play defensive tackle if he adds the weight.”

While Michigan missed out on top tight end target Chris Clark when he chose UCLA this morning, Wheatley is likely to wind up at tight end. It’s a deep and talented position for Michigan with junior Jake Butt, redshirt sophomore Khalid Hill, and redshirt freshman Ian Bunting. At 6’6″, 260, he has the size to play right away, and he will have a chance to work his way into playing time in Harbaugh’s tight end-friendly offense.

New in Blue: 2015 defensive end Shelton Johnson

Wednesday, February 4th, 2015

Shelton Johnson(247)

Shelton Johnson – DE | 6-5, 220 | Delray Beach, Fla. – Atlantic
ESPN: 3-star, #36 DE Rivals: 3-star, #37 WDE 247: 4-star, #16 SDE Scout: 4-star, #27 DE
Other top offers: Florida State, Miami, Mississippi State, South Carolina, NC State, Kentucky

Michigan picked up somewhat of a surprise commitment on National Signing Day when Delray Beach, Fla. defensive end spurned in-state Miami and Florida State and pledged to Jim Harbaugh. 


Johnson was an unknown to most Michigan fans until Tuesday afternoon when 247’s Steve Lorenz and Clint Brewster tweeted that Michigan was in the running for his commitment. Johnson is a four-star according to 247 and Scout and a three-star according to ESPN and Rivals. 247 ranks him the 16th-best strong side defensive end in the class and 39th-best prospect in the talent-rich state of Florida. Scout lists him as the 27th-best defensive end and 291st-best prospect overall. ESPN ranks him as the 36th-best defensive end with a grade of 79, while Rivals has him as the 37th-best weak side defensive end.

Johnson received an offer from Michigan on Jan. 15 and took an official visit that weekend. He then took an official to Miami a week later. Florida State’s coaches visited him twice since his Michigan visit — Johnson took several unofficials to FSU last fall — and he narrowed his choices down to the three schools.

When he gets to campus this summer, he will join a position that has a lot of young talent in Taco Charlton, Mario Ojemudia, Tom Strobel, Henry Poggi, and Lawrence Marshall. But Michigan did lose both starting defensive ends, Frank Clark and Brennen Beyer, to graduation, and with a new coaching staff, it’s safe to assume that the spots are anyone’s to win this fall.

New in Blue: 2015 cornerback Keith Washington

Wednesday, February 4th, 2015

Keith Washington(Mickey Welsh, Montgomery Advertiser)

Keith Washington – CB | 6-2, 170 | Prattville, Ala. – Prattville
ESPN: 3-star, #117 ATH Rivals: 3-star, #26 ATH 247: 3-star, #118 ATH Scout: 3-star, #147 CB
Other top offers: California, Miami, Missouri, North Carolina, South Florida, Wake Forest, Duke, Memphis

Jim Harbaugh missed out on a pair of defensive backs early in the week when Damon Arnette committed to Ohio State and Chris Williamson chose his home-state Florida Gators. But he was able to salvage a corner on National Signing Day when Prattville, Ala. athlete Keith Washington flipped from California to the Wolverines.

Washington is a three-star all around. Rivals ranks him as the 26th-best athlete in the class, while ESPN has him 117th and 247 has him 118th. Scout ranks him as the 147th-best corner. None have him ranked nationally, but 247’s composite rankings has him 954th overall. At 6’2″, he has good size for a corner, though he will need to put some muscle on his thin, 170-pound frame before he’s ready to compete.

247 lists Washington’s best skill as versatility, for which they give him an eight. He’s a seven on size, ball skills, and intangibles, but just a five at speed and explosiveness.

Washington’s commitment is surprising considering he lives in Alabama, committed to Cal last week, and hasn’t visited Michigan. But  Harbaugh has been working hard to fill out the class and has a proven track record that can attract recruits. Stay tuned for more updates as the day goes on.

New in Blue: 2015 running back Karan Higdon

Wednesday, February 4th, 2015

Karan Higdon(

Karan Higdon – RB | 5-10, 190 | Sarasota, Fla. – Riverview
ESPN: 3-star, #70 RB Rivals: 3-star, #45 RB 247: 4-star, #29 RB Scout: 3-star, #84 RB
Other top offers: Iowa, Arizona, Tennessee, Arkansas, Syracuse, South Florida, Kentucky, Nevada

Jim Harbaugh is still hoping to convince four-star running back Mike Weber to flip from Ohio State back to Michigan, but even if he doesn’t, he got a nice consolation prize on National Signing Day in Sarasota, Fla. running back Karan Higdon.

Higdon is a four-star recruit according to 247 and a three-star according to ESPN, Rivals, and Scout. 247 ranks him as the 29th-best running back in the class, while Rivals has him 45th, ESPN 70th, and Scout 84th. None of the sites rank him nationally, but 247’s composite rankings have him as the 478th-best overall recruit in the 2015 class.

He had been committed to Big Ten foe Iowa since Oct. 28, but Michigan offered him at the last minute and it was enough to flip him to the Wolverines. Since Michigan didn’t take a running back in last year’s class, he has some room to grow behind juniors Derrick Green and De’Veon Smith, redshirt junior Drake Johnson, and redshirt sophomore Ty Isaac.

Stay tuned for more commitment news as National Signing Day rolls on.

National Signing Day: Visualizing Michigan’s 2014 class

Wednesday, February 5th, 2014

2014 Class Visualization

National Signing Day: visualizing Michigan’s 2013 recruiting class

Wednesday, February 6th, 2013

Stay tuned in the coming days as we profile each of the 27 members of Michigan’s 2013 class.

A Quick Look at Michigan’s 2012 Recruiting Class

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

National Signing Day came and went on Wednesday and when all was said and done, Head Coach Brady Hoke announced a 25-member recruiting class. The day started off well with a surprise commitment from four-star running back Dennis Norfleet from Martin Luther King High School in Detroit. The rest of the day went as expected with all 22 signed Letters of Intent arriving (three are already enrolled for spring semester).

There still remains a shot at Chicago Simeon offensive lineman Jordan Diamond, who makes his announcement on Friday, and Colorado offensive lineman Alex Kozan who verbally committed to Iowa on Sunday but didn’t fax in his LOI on Wednesday.

Below is a position-by-position breakdown as well as a location-based look at this year’s class. Stay tuned tomorrow for in-depth bios of each offensive recruit and then Saturday morning for the defensive side.

As you can see above, Michigan didn’t sign a quarterback in this year’s class, but has Shane Morris committed for next year’s class. He’ll enter as Denard Robinson graduates and battle for the starting spot with Devin Gardner. The four offensive linemen are all listed as tackles but in tomorrow’s individual breakdown, we’ll discuss where they project on the line. The same can be said for the four defensive backs. Terry Richardson is the only one listed as a cornerback; the other three as safeties. 
Michigan’s class is very Midwest-focused this year, as opposed to the classes we saw under Rich Rodriguez which pulled a bit more from the south, most notably Florida. Hoke didn’t get anyone south of Tennessee, and only ventured out west for two – Erik Magnuson from Carlsbad, Calif. and Sione Houma from Salt Lake City, Utah. If Kozan switches his commitment to Michigan, that will add another player from the west, as he hails from Colorado, but we won’t bet on that happening. If Diamond commits to Michigan on Friday, he will add yet another player from the Midwest.

National Signing Day: Who’s Next?

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

National Signing Day has arrived and high school seniors around the country will sign and send their letters of intent to the colleges of their choice. Coaches and fans alike will sweat out each LOI and by the end of the day a new class of Michigan Men will be announced.

Brady Hoke’s staff did a great job of locking in a solid class early on, creating a somewhat boring NSD for those who crave the “will he or won’t he” last-minute announcements. But that shouldn’t take away from the class Hoke is pulling in.

With a pair of five-stars (offensive lineman Kyle Kalis and defensive tackle Ondre Pipkins) and a host of four-stars, Hoke and Co. have set the foundation for the future of Michigan football. Three are already enrolled – four-star linebacker Joe Bolden, three-star linebacker Kaleb Ringer, and four-star defensive back Jarrod Wilson, so no need to fret about them. The other 21 are expected to fax their LOIs today and Hoke will announce the class in a 2pm press conference which can be viewed on

Michigan has the opportunity to sign 28 players in this year’s class, and yesterday, Michigan picked up commitment number 24 when Cleveland Glenville defensive tackle Willie Henry chose the Wolverines. That means four more could potentially fill the class today, though the number of recruits Michigan still has a shot at is fairly low. With offensive linemen Joshua Garnett and Alex Kozan off the board, Michigan hopes to pull in Jordan Diamond, but he won’t make his announcement until Friday. Diamond has narrowed his list down to four: Michigan, Wisconsin, Arkansas and Auburn.

One possible signing day surprise was foreshadowed last night by Sam Webb, who tweeted “There is indeed ANOTHER potential signing day surprise for Michigan. Definitely caught me by surprise. You never KNOW with recruiting.” In addition, Scout’s Allen Trieu hinted at expecting 25 letters of intent.

So perhaps the National Signing Day Santa will bring us another present, but don’t be crushed if it doesn’t. Hoke is bringing in the building blocks for a fantastic future. Check back in the following days for profiles on each new Wolverine.