HIG­GINS GO­ING PRO

Wide re­ceiver holds records

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By Mike Bro­hard

Rashard Hig­gins en­tered Colorado State with lit­tle fan­fare, yet the wide­out from Mesquite, Texas, had a ton of per­son­al­ity and a nick­name tat­tooed on his back he had ev­ery in­ten­tion of liv­ing up to while in Fort Collins.

He did that and more in three record-set­ting sea­sons with the Rams. With a mes­sage on his Twit­ter ac­count, the player known as “Hol­ly­wood” an­nounced he will leave school early and de­clare for the NFL draft.

“Af­ter weigh­ing my op­tions and lean­ing on those who mat­ter most, I have de­cided that it is in my best in­ter­est to forgo my se­nior year,” Hig­gins said in his post.

Hig­gins, who could not be reached for com­ment, def­i­nitely left a mem­o­rable mark on the pro­gram, ex­it­ing with eight records in his three sea­sons with the Rams. In the end, he fin­ished with 239 catches for 3,649 yards and 31 touch­downs, the ca­reer record in each cat­e­gory. As a sopho­more, Hig­gins be­came a con­sen­sus All-Amer­i­can af­ter his 96-catch, 1,750-yard, 17-touch­down cam­paign — all sin­gle-sea­son marks — lead­ing CSU to a 10-4 record and a trip to the Las Ve­gas Bowl.

His megawatt smile and his abil­ity to play up to a crowd fit per­fectly into his child­hood nick­name.

In­juries and a new of­fense put a damper on his num­bers this year, but he still earned first-team all-Moun­tain West hon­ors af­ter catch­ing 75 passes for 1,062 yards and eight scores. Now, his next step is to the NFL. “This has been a life­long dream of mine,” Hig­gins’ post said. “I’ve worked hard to put my­self in a po­si­tion to seize this op­por­tu­nity of a life­time if it ever pre­sented it­self, and I owe it all to those who be­lieved in me. Coach (Alvis) Whit­ted has been more than a coach to me, and I am for­tu­nate to have had a coach like him on my side.”

The 6-foot-2, 190-pound Hig­gins went on to thank his team­mates and those in­volved with the pro­gram, as well as his pro­fes­sors and other aca­demic staff. He also thanked the fans of the pro­gram, fin­ish­ing with a pledge to come back and com­pete his de­gree, with a listed ma­jor as pre-con­struc­tion man­age­ment.

Hig­gins filed pa­per­work with the NFL be­fore Colorado State played in the Ari­zona Bowl, and while his fi­nal rat­ing wasn’t re­leased, one scout in­volved in the process said he gave Hig­gins a third-round grade. Last week, Whit­ted and coach Mike Bobo vis­ited with Hig­gins and his mother, Jeanette Jack­son, to help Hig­gins make the best de­ci­sion.

Hig­gins be­comes the third Ram in three years to de­clare early for the NFL draft, join­ing run­ning backs Kapri Bibbs and Dee Hart. Nei­ther of them was drafted, but Hig­gins has bet­ter cre­den­tials en­ter­ing the process.

Hig­gins joins a list of nearly 100 un­der­class­men listed on NFL.com who have de­clared early for the draft, and play­ers still have un­til Jan. 18 to do so.

One of Rashard Hig­gins’ hall­marks as a Colorado State Ram was his abil­ity to pro­duce big yards af­ter his catches, which he does against Ne­vada and linebacker L.J. Jack­son, above, in De­cem­ber’s Ari­zona Bowl. Chris­tian Petersen, Getty Im­ages

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