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Karan Higdon ‘100 percent healthy,’ ready to play the team he grew up rooting for

Higdon was a fan of South Carolina growing up, so the Outback Bowl personally means a little more to him

Michigan v Indiana Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

With Michigan’s regular season two weeks removed, the players who were banged up have had plenty of time to rest and prepare for the Jan. 1 Outback Bowl against South Carolina.

One of the more notable players dealing with a nagging injury over the past month is Karan Higdon.

The junior running back was having a breakout season in 2017 before suffering an ankle injury against Maryland. And because of that injury, Higdon only had 18 total carries in the last two games of the season — at Wisconsin and home against Ohio State.

Even though he played in both games, he admitted Thursday he was “70 percent, 65 to 70 percent” in the Ohio State game.

But now the Sarasota, Florida native is 100 percent healthy and ready to take on South Carolina, a team he actually rooted for in high school.

“I just loved (South Carolina),” Higdon said. “I had a close friend who went there and I had some kids in my local area who went there. We watched South Carolina a lot and I grew to like them. I visited there a couple times and I like South Carolina. They didn’t offer me but now I am playing against them, so I’m back!”

Higdon remembers rooting for the Gamecocks against the Wolverines in the 2012 edition of the Outback Bowl, and he also remembers witnessing the play that game is known for — Jadeveon Clowney’s monstrous hit on former Michigan running back Vincent Smith.

“I was (rooting for Clowney’s hit), and now me and Vincent are cool so I’m like ‘dang,’” Higdon said laughing. “That was the year I had just visited there. There wasn’t anything (Vincent) could’ve done differently. He jumped right up. I think that’s the Florida in him. Florida players don’t stay down.”

Higdon never received a scholarship from South Carolina, but he did not beat around the bush when asked what he would’ve done had he been offered by the Gamecocks.

“I would’ve went,” he said with a smile. “I would’ve went most definitely.”

The junior running back also said it means a little more personally for him to play in his home state and be able to see people he doesn’t normally see.

“You get to go back home, play where you grew up, play in front of your family and friends and coaches who may not be able to get out to the Big House,” he said. “It’s very big for me personally.”

Nine other Wolverine players also hail from Florida, including sophomore linebacker Devin Bush, sophomore safety Josh Metellus and senior offensive lineman Mason Cole. So Higdon isn’t the only one who will receive a homecoming.

Higdon was on pace to break 1,000 rushing yards on the year before his ankle injury in the Maryland game. He only needs 71 rushing yards, which is very doable for him , so if he is going to get there he will be doing it in front of his friends and family in his home state.