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Kirkland Crawford, Detroit Free Press
Michigan football senior running back Karan Higdon has announced he will not play in the Peach Bowl on Dec. 29 as he continues preparation for the upcoming NFL draft.
Higdon, voted a captain by teammates earlier this season, became Michigan’s first running back to break the 1,000-yard mark since Fitzgerald Toussaint in 2011.
He’s the second Michigan captain to announce a decision to skip the bowl game, as junior linebacker Devin Bush Jr. — who is dealing with a hip injury — announced his plans to declare for the NFL draft on Wednesday.
Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh told reporters recently that junior defensive end Rashan Gary, who is also going pro, won’t play either.
“These past four years (have) been nothing less than an unforgettable journey. I’ve come in as a young man with little knowledge and I now leave as a Michigan man full of advice and wise words to share,” Higdon wrote Thursday via his Instagram. “I’ve battled many trials and tribulations while accomplishing many (milestones) and leaving my footprints at the University of Michigan.
“After a thorough evaluation between my parents and the UM staff, we have deemed that it is in my best interest to not play in the Peach Bowl and to utilize this time to get prepared to pursue my dreams in the NFL. To all my fans and supporters I thank you for the amount of support to not just me but this 2018 team.”
Without Higdon, the team’s leading rusher, U-M will likely turn to junior running back Chris Evans, along with classmate Tru Wilson. Michigan can also get more work for true freshman Christian Turner throughout the month of bowl prep and possibly in the Peach Bowl.
Higdon is expected to be drafted in next spring’s draft. He’s accepted an invitation to the Senior Bowl as well.
After nearly declaring for the draft last year, Higdon — who was featured heavily alongside his young daughter, Kiyah, in last year’s Amazon documentary about the team — is the No. 8-ranked running back on ESPN analyst Mel Kiper’s big board.
He has run the ball 471 times for 2,616 yards and 27 touchdowns in four years at Michigan.
“I’m excited to see him at the Senior Bowl. Every time I watched Michigan play this year it was like ‘can they please just feed him the ball,’ ” draft analyst Matt Miller told the Free Press recently. “He’s a little small, change of pace guy. I want to see how he catches the ball. Because with his frame, that’s what he’ll have to do at the next level.
“He doesn’t have a lot of wear and tear, that’ll help. But we have to see what he can do catching the ball. Senior Bowl practices will give him a ton of opportunity to show that. He’s quick and powerful, though.”
Contact Nick Baumgardner: email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @nickbaumgardner.