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Elijah Higgins, NFL Draft Wide Receiver Prospect

Zach Gelb Show / Zach Gelb
The Truth Network Radio
April 20, 2023 9:04 pm

Elijah Higgins, NFL Draft Wide Receiver Prospect

Zach Gelb Show / Zach Gelb

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April 20, 2023 9:04 pm

Elijah Higgins joined Zach to discuss his journey to football and what he brings to the next level. 

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We continue to gear up for the 2023 NFL Draft.

It is the Zach Gelb show coast to coast on CBS Sports Radio. And now joining us, he played his college football at Stanford. And I don't know where the heck he's going to play in the NFL, because each and every time I read a scouting report, it puts him at a different position. But that of course is Elijah Higgins, who joins us right now.

Elijah, I'm going to introduce you as a wide receiver, I think, but a lot of people say, maybe you could play tight end in the NFL as well. So how you been? I've been well, man. How are you doing?

Well, I'm doing fantastic. So clearly versatile. That's what you are. You're big 6'3", 235. Some people say wide receiver, they could put you in the backfield, maybe also use you as a pass catching tight end. How do you kind of define your role and how you envision playing in the NFL?

Yeah, I feel like I have a lot of a wide range of a skill set. Like you said, I can, I think I can fulfill that role as a natural tight end pass catcher or a pass catching tight end. I also think I can come out the backfield.

I also think I can play receiver. So just based on the team, what they see me as, and how I fit in that system. When you've been talking to these teams throughout the process, has everyone kind of given you a different answer?

Is it a lot of the same that you're just going to be a versatile weapon for them? It's generally been the same thing from a lot of the teams kind of trending towards that pass catching tight end, move tight end. So that's been the common common denominator with all the teams I've talked to so far. How do you kind of look back at this process once you understood, okay, you're getting ready for the NFL, you go through the entire process, the combine and all that. Now with this draft being a week away when it gets kicked off in Kansas City next Thursday, how do you look back at the last few months?

Yeah, I've enjoyed it, to be honest. I feel like I did everything in my power to do what I needed to do to put myself in the position that I feel like I needed to be in. Obviously, nothing was perfect throughout the entirety of the process, but definitely try to put my best foot forward the entire time.

What do you think you learned from this process? That's a good question. I've never really thought about that. I would say more than anything so far I've learned that you never know, to be honest. For instance, a lot of mock drafts and people kind of saying where you're going to go and whatnot. But at the end of the day, you kind of just have to hang your hat on the work that you did and trust the things that you've done so far up to this point and trust that a team is going to see that in you.

So I guess we'll wait and see in a week. Elijah Higgins here with us. So growing up, who are some football players that you idolize? To be honest, I didn't watch a lot of ball growing up.

Barely any, to be honest. I don't really idolize any players or anything like that. A lot of respect for a lot of guys that played in the league and whatnot. But now just getting my feet wet with watching ball and whatnot, especially film study at the next level, things like that. I've never really watched like NFL games growing up. How did you fall in love with the sport then? I was always like a natural athlete. I played baseball and basketball, track, football, that sort of stuff.

It's kind of one of those things where I got good at it. I realized in high school I was pretty good at football, kind of had realized I had a future at the next level, being in college. And then I would say like my sophomore year in college, I kind of understood football a little bit better, understood what it meant to work hard and kind of put yourself in a position for that work to show up. So I would say around my sophomore years, when I really fell in love with not only football as a game, but also like as a process, especially in the offseason and things like that. It's kind of crazy.

And I love these types of stories when you kind of realize you love football later on in life. That means you're not even close to being fully developed. How far away do you think we are from seeing the entire version of Elijah Higgins? Yeah, hopefully not far, to be honest. I mean, I want to be able to reach that pinnacle, obviously, as soon as possible.

But at the end of the day, I don't think I have a ceiling and also think I'm very far from my ceiling as of right now. So hopefully in this next year, my rookie year and so on, I just continue to improve on the field and obviously out the field as well. You don't know where you're going, but that adjustment going from college to the NFL, how smooth of a transition do you think that's going to be for you? Yeah, I think I'm prepared for the transition. I don't think it's going to be easy in any way, but I definitely am prepared to ask the questions, to follow suit behind the vets and whatnot, the captains on the team, the leaders.

And I'm willing to play that role as a rookie, obviously, and learn as much as I can. I know David Shaw is no longer the coach of Stanford, but for all these years, people have been saying, oh, he could be a coach in the NFL, a head coach, and that wouldn't have surprised anyone if it ended up happening. How did coach kind of get you ready for this next level in this journey that you're about to embark on next week? Yeah, I think it started off with just like the organization itself, how they operate, very professional, especially the pro style offense, West Coast offense, that sort of thing.

So definitely prepared me for the next level in that sense and regard, but also just carrying yourself as a professional, doing things you need to do off the field, down in the training room, making sure you're getting the right things, just operating as a professional was a thing that was always harped on and instilled in us early when I got to Stanford. You mentioned the mock drafts earlier and how the projections are all over the place. If I'm a GM and I ask you, all right, I have a pick third round, fourth round, fifth round, whatever it may be, why should I use one of those picks on Elijah Higgins?

What's your answer? Yeah, I feel like I'm different than a lot of players in the draft right now, very different. Like I said before, and kind of what you touched on a little bit, I don't necessarily fit in with all the receivers in the class. I don't necessarily fit in with all the tight ends in the class. So I feel like I'm kind of in my own position. And I feel like in this draft class, there's really not many guys, if any, outside of myself that are in that position. So just a team that's willing to see that enemy and then obviously have the scheme and the right fit for me and their system. Some guys like comparison, some guys don't.

I'm just wondering, who do you get compared to the most often, just because it's such a unique situation like you were talking about? Yeah, I mean, there's a few guys in the league right now. Evan Ingram is one of them. He had a great season at the Jags this past year. Kittle is another pass catching tight end sort of guy. He's not necessarily the ideal tight end as far as like height and weight and sort of things like that. Past players, Jordan Reed, Delaney Walker, guys that are around that same physical mold as me, but also caught balls down the middle and on the outside and things like that.

So those types of guys in the league right now and in previous years as well. Before we let you run, wrap it up with Elijah Higgins who joins us, NFL draft prospect out of Stanford. What's been some of the best advice? I'm sure everyone's in your ear during this process and you got to figure out who you're going to trust, but what's been some of the best advice you've received as you get ready for the NFL draft?

That's a good question. I think the best advice I've gotten throughout this entire process has been just enjoy it for what it is. As cliche as it sounds like, obviously you only get this opportunity once and you want to look back and know in your heart that you try to enjoy it as much as you could. You try to be as present as you could in it and didn't overstress yourself or fall into the trap of being fearful of what was ahead. So just being present in this process and enjoying it for what it is, but obviously being ready for that next level and that jump because you start rookie minicamp like the next week. So just getting prepared, but also being present in the moment. What do you think you'll miss the most by the way about Stanford?

Yeah, there's a lot of things to be honest. I'll say in the football world for sure, like definitely the guys in the locker room. That's probably the thing that I miss the most outside of the locker room. Outside of football, I would say just the atmosphere of Stanford, the type of people you're surrounded by, the environment, how everything operates, that sort of thing. So definitely a lot to miss from Stanford, but I think I'll be back there when I'm able to go back to school. So I'm excited for the future for sure, but also definitely going to miss some things from College of Stanford. What made you pick Stanford by the way? Obviously just how profound the academics are and how well respected they are across the country, outside of the country as well. At the time, they had a great football program going in the right direction, competing for Rose Bowls, trying to make playoff spots, that sort of thing. But also just being able to operate as a regular human being and not necessarily being viewed as a football, as solely a football player. Being able to have those genuine interactions, genuine relationships with people outside the locker room and even inside the locker room.

So I think that was really special about the place that I was at these past four years. Tell me about your quarterback at Stanford, Tanner McKee, because there's a lot of projections all over the board on where he's going to land coming up in this NFL draft next week. Yeah, he's a stud. I mean, he's a great player. I feel like he's honestly one of the best quarterbacks in this class right now. He can make the throws all over the field. And I think there's a lot to like about his game.

And I think a lot of people don't necessarily recognize or respect that yet. But once he gets into that locker room and on that field at the next level, he'll earn his respect right away. What is he like as a leader? He's a great leader, man. He's a great person.

Leads by example, for sure. He's a great guy to be around. Great guy to have as a quarterback. Great guy throwing you the ball, that sort of thing.

And a great guy that can lead the offense in the right direction. Last thing I'll ask you, like we said, we don't know when you're going to get drafted, but how do you think you'll spend Friday and Saturday? Yeah, not doing anything outside the ordinary.

Nothing too big. Just kind of be with immediate family, just hanging out, chilling and waiting on the call. Most important question, what's the food spread looking like at the draft party inside the Higgins household? That's a great question.

I don't know. There might not be anything crazy for the party, though. I'm going to have my dad barbecue. So we might throw a party a few days out.

A few days after the draft, if I have time to do it. But on the draft days, just hanging out, just chilling, nothing outside the ordinary. So dad could cook. What is he cooking up on the barbecue? You invite me over for dinner. What's dad cooking for us?

Just wondering. He'll grow some chicken wings, mac and cheese, baked beans, that sort of stuff. So I'm excited. That's what I'm excited most about, to be honest. Well, that's the awesome part, the family part of it.

It's pretty cool that you'll be able to embrace all as one. And I also like these at chicken wings because my producer, hot take Kiki, he likes boneless wings. And I just tell him those are chicken nuggets. You got to go with the real chicken wings. That's the truth.

That's the truth. Are you a flat or a drum? I'm a look at me like I'm a drumstick guy, like drumstick guy, dip them in the blue cheese. If I could go all drumsticks, that would be okay with me. I have to disagree, but that's all right. You go all flats.

You would go all flats. As long as it's bone in, we're good. Yeah. Okay. You know what? That just saved the answer.

Second round. Here he comes. Elijah Higgins. Thanks so much for doing this. We appreciate it. Yes, sir. I appreciate you.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-20 22:37:37 / 2023-04-20 22:43:20 / 6

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