The Wolverine

December 2017

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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DECEMBER 2017 THE WOLVERINE 21 ago, missing spring ball and much of summer workouts after dealing with mononucleosis. This time around, he came into the year fully up to speed, but uncertain of his standing. "To be honest, I didn't know what to expect," Higdon said. "But I saw my role continuously increasing. I knew what I was capable of. "I was looking forward to moments like this, but all the thanks go to my O-line. I couldn't do it without them." He also learned along the way that he couldn't just run over people. He still does at times, but also discov- ered a single cut can free him for the long run. "I knew there was going to come a point that some guys I'd have to make miss and some guys I'd have to run through," he said. "I love to run through people, but if you're going to be successful, you've got to get to the end zone. Sometimes that means making people miss. "I feel like I do have the best of both worlds. That's a great thing to have." A COMFORT ZONE Higdon certainly enjoys a sup- portive world. His mother moved to Michigan when he came to Ann Ar- bor, settling in Sterling Heights along with Higdon's two younger brothers, Kavon and Keion. She remains an ex- ample of the hard work that goes into making one's way. She works as a staffing coordinator and scheduler at Heartland of Ster- ling Heights Comprehensive Skilled Nursing Services. She also runs her own home healthcare service. She's also studying to be a nurse, through Dorsey Schools. "My mom is everything to me," Higdon said. "She works just as hard. I know I've got to go hard, each and every day. She never gives up, so I know I can't give up." Such motivation appears to be the gift that keeps giving. "I'm always doing something to inspire my children, that no matter what adversities you face in life, you can still reach your dreams," Chris- tian said. "You can still capitalize and make your life better by doing more. But you have to be a doer, because nothing comes easy." Her son is doing the stuff of dreams, and she's loving every minute of it. "It's just full of joy," she said. "It's full of excitement. I'm very ecstatic. I'm grateful. It makes me feel like I'm the luckiest mother on earth, to see her child go from being 5 years old and wanting to quit football to evolve and be playing at the University of Michigan, on that platform. "It's just overwhelming. It's breath- taking. I'm full of happiness. Words can't describe how I feel. I'm happy for him, that everything is coming full circle." ❏ Karan Higdon Closes In On 1,000 Yards Karan Higdon is churning hard toward a 1,000-yard rushing season for the Wol- verines. The junior tailback could join some scarce company over the past de- cade for the Wolverines. Since Mike Hart left the scene in 2007, only Fitzgerald Toussaint — with 1,041 rushing yards in 2011 — has hit four fig- ures in a single season among Michigan running backs. Several games into the 2017 season, nobody saw this coming, at least for Higdon. Through the opening five games, he'd accumulated 201 rushing yards amid Michigan's tailback-by-com- mittee efforts. That changed dramatically when he broke out for 200 yards at Indiana, then repeated the feat three weeks later un- der the lights versus Minnesota. Now, it's just a matter of how high he can climb, and the Wolverines with him. Here are the last 10 1,000-yard seasons by a Michigan running back, a feat that occurred 18 out of 22 times from 1974-95: • Fitzgerald Toussaint, 1,041 yards, 2011 — Toussaint's effor t comple - mented quarterback Denard Robinson's 1,176 rushing yards in Michigan's 11-2, Sugar Bowl championship season. • Mike Hart, 1,361 yards, 2007 — Hart capped his record-setting career with a third 1,000-yard season, for a 9-4 squad that beat Urban Meyer's Florida team in the Capital One Bowl. • Mike Hart, 1,562 yards, 2006 — Hart's best single-season effort helped U-M off to an 11-0 start, for a Rose Bowl squad that wound up ranked No. 8. • Mike Hart, 1,445 yards, 2004 — Hart burst onto the scene as a 1,000-yard freshman, for a 9-3, Big Ten championship squad. • Chris Perry, 1,674 yards, 2003 — Perry paced the rushing attack for a 10-3 Big Ten title team that knocked off Ohio State in the 100th meeting between the schools, 35-21. • Chris Perry, 1,110 yards, 2002 — Perry's junior year featured a 10-3 record and a shootout win (38-30) over Florida in the Outback Bowl. • Anthony Thomas, 1,733 yards, 2000 — Thomas enjoyed his best year as a senior for the Big Ten-champion Wolverines, the last U-M squad to win at Ohio State. • Anthony Thomas, 1,297 yards, 1999 — Thomas paced the rushing attack for the No. 5 Wolverines, who beat Ohio State and knocked off Alabama in the Orange Bowl in overtime, 35-34. • Tshimanga Biakabutuka, 1,818 yards, 1995 — Biakabutuka set the mod- ern-era single-season record for a 9-4 Michigan team that overran Ohio State. • Tyrone Wheatley, 1,144 yards, 1994 — Wheatley finished his career topping 1,000 yards for an 8-4 U-M squad. — John Borton Before Higdon did so against Indiana and Minnesota this fall, Mike Hart (above) was the last U-M running back to eclipse 200 rushing yards in a game multiple times during the same season. Hart did so in three straight contests during the 2004 campaign. PHOTO BY AMIR GAMZU

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