The countdown continues rolling on with an incoming freshman from the recruiting hotbed of Indianapolis.
Jay Higgins, Freshman
Indianapolis, IN (Brebeuf Jesuit)
6’2”, 219 lbs
2020 Projection: Backup linebacker, special teamer
All incoming division one freshmen have many accolades from their high school careers. Jay Higgins appears to have a few extra. One thing that stands out about Higgins is that he consistently produced over the course of his high school career. This was in a hotbed of D1 football and basketball players.
In football, Higgins was all-state three years. He made the Top 50 All-State in Indiana both his junior and senior years. He was a tackling machine, leading his conference in tackles his sophomore, junior, and senior years and ranking in the top 10 nationally as a senior.
Higgins was a LB and TE in high school and projects as a middle or weak-side linebacker at Iowa. Jay had offers from Navy and Air Force, among others; the fact that he was a captain his junior and senior years along with the Academy offers is a testament to the type of young man that he is.
His tape from high school shows him with good awareness and having a nose for the ball. The clip at the :10 point of his Hudl video brings a smile to my face each time I watch it. He seemed to move well laterally, make defensive calls, and then more or less “eat” the ball carrier.
You’re not going to see missed tackles go on a highlight tape, but I get the feeling that Jay didn’t miss many. He squares up on runners well and his strength is evident. I actually watched his basketball tape from high school as much as I watched his football tape. He averaged 14.8 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 3.1 apg, and 1.5 spg his senior year. That is stuffing the stat sheet.
Higgins is a stocky kid. Seeing a D1 linebacker playing point guard is not an everyday occurrence, especially in the basketball-rich Indianapolis area. It seems like Iowa is getting a hard-nosed, multi-sport athlete who has all of the intangibles. If that sounds like you’ve heard that before, you have.
With Covid-19 it may be harder for freshmen to crack a lineup with fewer reps, etc... but I would expect Higgins could step in right away and make a difference on special teams.