Mailbag: Higdon is Fast and Breakout Players on Both Sides of the Ball

karan higdon michigan

Mailbag: Higdon is Fast and Breakout Players on Both Sides of the Ball

Football

Mailbag: Higdon is Fast and Breakout Players on Both Sides of the Ball

Mailbag is back again, and it wants to answer your Michigan football questions.

Let’s jump in.

That’s really because there isn’t much to say.

Keegan keeps things close to the vest. He was a part of that big official visit weekend back in June, but we couldn’t get him on the horn, nor had I seen anyone else get a solid reaction from him. He’s just one of those guys that doesn’t really talk about his recruitment.

Based off what I heard from sources close to the Michigan side of things, the visit went well. But they, nor anyone, seemingly, has any idea as to what he’s going to do.

I’m not terribly good at comparing guys to who they are similar to, honestly, so I can’t give you an eval as such.

But, he’s fast. And I mean very fast.

I’m told by a source that, even with all his increased muscle mass — and remember we reported that he’s up to 203 from 190 — he runs a 4.46 40-yard dash.

If you put that in the 2018 NFL Scouting Combine, that means Higdon would be tied for third among the running back participants, and would have been tied with Kalen Ballage and just behind Saquon Barkley. That’s the kind of speed Higdon has.

Almost definitely. Considering that they can play in any four games, it would be a waste if Michigan didn’t get all of them in at some point.

I think the bigger question is — when? I’m curious to see how quickly Michigan gets some of these guys in, if they want to play them early and see how they do against lesser competition in the non-conference schedule — with the Week Two and Three contests being a good opportunity to get them some reps. Or, will they save them for later in the year, when they’re more acclimated and there’s little-to-no tape on them? That could be an advantage, much like Ohio State had with Dwayne Haskins in The Game. Also, if you save guys for the last four games, you still get to use them and redshirt them, so that could be something to watch.

I lean towards no, if you’re speaking about the recently departed, Tyrone Wheatley Jr., Kareem Walker and Eddie McDoom.

Both of them were going to be fighting for playing time in loaded rooms. Wheatley could be a monster, but injuries have held him back significantly, and Zach Gentry could be a monster in the same vein. McDoom was almost exclusively a specialty player — as you’ve seen — and I was starting to wonder if he would get the nod over Oliver Martin as the second slot behind Grant Perry. Kareem Walker just never seemed to fully catch on, which is a shame considering where he once was in high school. But, I think the freshmen and/or Tru Wilson and O’Maury Samuels will be adequately prepared to step in and make that impact in the third spot.

Regardless, I think Michigan has guys ready to step into their roles, and the losses were all at possible positions of strength.

As far as the transfers in, all of them are up there eligibility-wise. Jeff George Jr. shouldn’t be a factor given the QB room, unless there’s Maryland-level disaster. Berkley Edwards could also win that third back position, and I think will find ways to be a factor, whether it be at RB or on special teams. Casey Hughes — we’ll see? I’ve heard that Josh Metellus — who he’s fighting for a spot with — has taken massive steps forward. I think he’ll have a bigger impact than Wayne Lyons had in 2015, but I’m still in wait-and-see mode. He has to get acclimated very quickly to the playbook, and has guys ahead of him who already have several years in the system.

I don’t really check in until the second week of camp — and I’ll assuredly ask Jim Harbaugh this on Monday for the third consecutive year.

The only guy that I heard about and also got mentioned by Don Brown was Aidan Hutchinson, who I’ve been told has been getting some early runs with the twos, especially now with Carlo Kemp’s move inside. I think he’d be the safe bet right now to get early playing time above everyone else.

I think it’s a good idea to trust the coaches?

I definitely saw him as likely being on the offensive side of the ball, but if they feel like that’s the best fit for him, at VIPER, I can’t do anything but trust it.

Hmmm. It’s still too early for me to have a well-informed opinion there, but if I had to take a guess, and these aren’t exactly going on a limb:

On offense, I’m going with Donovan Peoples-Jones. He has the raw athleticism you can’t teach, and now that he’s got a year in the system and enhanced coaching with Jim McElwain overseeing the WRs, he should be poised to take a massive, massive step forward. Think Mario Manningham going from 2005-06.

On defense, huge cop out here, but I’m going with Michael Dwumfour. We’ve already heard about how he has a quick get-off similar to Mo Hurst. I think he steps in, and having the guys on the edge in Winovich and Gary, he should be poised to take advantage of the matchups in the middle.

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