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FORT COLLINS — 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.
RELATED:Rashard Higgins was a lethal weapon for Colorado State
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.
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