Rivals ranked 100 wide receivers in the 2013 high school class. None of them were named Rashard Higgins. ESPN also ranked 100 wide receivers in the 2013 high school class. None of them were named Rashard Higgins. And your fingers will get a mini workout scrolling down 247 Sports‘ 2013 wide receiver rankings as you search for Rashard Higgins before finally seeing the 6-1, 154-pounder from Mesquite, Texas, buried at No. 176.
The athletic freak, who also starred in track and field in high school, from the talent rich Dallas suburb signed with Colorado State on January 20, 2013. To most CSU fans, he was still just another name in another recruiting class. And to 99.99 percent of other fans, he was nothing more than, well, nothing. Twenty-three months later, after producing one of the most prolific receiving seasons in college football and Mountain West history (96 catches, 1,750 yards and 17 touchdowns), Higgins was no longer looking up at anyone. Last December, he was named an AP First-Team All-American alongside Alabama’s Amari Cooper, whom he sat with (along with West Virginia’s Kevin White) five days earlier as finalists for the Fred Biletnikoff Award. The award, given to the nation’s top receiver, was ultimately won by Cooper but the message had been sent.
Not one of the 100 receiver recruits from both Rivals’ and ESPN’s rankings made any of the three AP All-American Teams, nor where any named finalists for the Biletnikoff Award. And not one of the 175 players ranked above him in 247 Sports’ receiver rankings made any of three AP All-American Teams, nor where any named finalists for the Biletnikoff Award.
Less than two years after Higgins pledged his services to second-year head coach Jim McElwain and the Rams, the young man that was forced to watch dozens of Dallas area players rack up countless FBS offers before he even got one, is now one of the best wideouts in college football. McElwain left for Florida but Higgins’ talent and work ethic hasn’t been lost on the new coaching staff, one led by former Georgia offensive coordinator Mike Bobo.
“Rashard has that mentality that he can’t be covered, but he works extremely hard,” Bobo told the Denver Post in April. “I made it a point when I took the job that I knew here was a guy who was first-team All-American but I was going to be hardest on him. From day one, I’ve been on Rashard about everything. He has responded every day.”
Rashard Higgins chatted with HERO Sports during fall camp and discussed a hungry CSU program, playing with a big chip on his shoulder, and a few off-the-field things.
Did you enjoy being recruited in high school and did you consider track and field during the process?
It was really a hassle. A couple guys up the road from me had a lot of offers, like Eldrige Massington (WR – UCLA), and I would’ve been thrilled to get one. All these guys had 20 offers and I had none so there was a point where if any school offered a scholarship I would take it and run. Colorado State came in first and I went with it.
For track and field I was pretty good but didn’t have any looks yet. I just told myself whoever offered in anything I was going to run with it. And that’s what I did.
With a new coaching staff and roster turnover, what has been different this offseason versus the 2014 offseason?
It’s been good. Last offseason was pretty intense but this year has been even more intense. We have Coach Bobo and Coach Davis, our new strength coach, coming in here ready to prove a point. They know we won 10 games last year but that’s not enough. They’re pushing us and want us to get over that hump. Turn those two losses we had into wins this year.
What you are plans for after football?
I want to work in some type of oil field or help kids but I still need to pursue my education and get my degree. Wherever life takes me…that’s where it takes me.
What NFL wide receiver do you enjoy watching the most or do you try to emulate your game after the most?
Dez Bryant. He’s plays strong, physical and talks trash. Talking trash to a DB and getting him off his game…that’s what I like.
What opposing defensive back have you enjoyed facing the most during your college career?
Crawley at CU (Ken Crawley – Colorado).
Are there any additional individual records that you’d love to break while at Colorado State?
Just a championship. I’ve never won a championship. In high school, little league, pee wee football, I’ve never won a championship. In college we’ve won a bowl game but never won a championship. Getting that championship would be huge for our legacy.
Who is one player or coach on your team that doesn’t get enough attention or credit?
Coach Hammer (Jeff Hammerschmidt – Special Teams Coordinator/Tight Ends Coach). Guys look at the offense and defense and don’t seem to notice what special teams does. He’s always fired up and thrilled about it but doesn’t get as much credit as he needs to.
Describe your team in one word.
I don’t have one word but here’s one phrase: Never Satisfied. Like I said, we won 10 games last year but we never won a championship. We’re all dedicated to winning that championship. We know we can win games but it’s all about getting that championship.
When did you realize that you’re doing something special at CSU?
Two years ago during the Alabama game. Coaches fired me up. I knew it would be on national TV and I said this will be my coming out game. That was the turning point and it just raised my confidence and my level of play. I was telling myself “They bleed just like you bleed, so why not come out with the same attitude?”.
Favorite TV Show?
Maury and anything on ESPN. For Maury, it’s just real life problems. Everyone is running around, people don’t know how to react or who’s the father. It’s very interesting.
Who is the first person you’re sharing a funny video, photo, tweet or story with?
Tyler Clark, a senior on last year’s team. And my boy Dezmon Jackson. He plays at East Central in Oklahoma and I tag him in almost everything I post.
What is one thing that even your closest teammates might be surprised to know about you?
Nothing really. I just play with a chip on my shoulder and nobody ever believes in me. For all the schools that slipped on me, I’m going to show you what I can do. That’s why I always hashtag #MakeThemBelieve on Twitter and Instagram.