Connor Neal | April 17th, 2020
Alex Highsmith is a Charlotte 49ers pass rusher, who during his four-year career accounted for 185 total tackles, 47 for a loss, and 21 sacks. Without a doubt, Highsmith my favorite prospect in this draft class. Despite having a packed schedule getting ready for the NFL draft, Highsmith was kind enough to make time in his busy schedule to allow me to interview him.
Question: What was your personal journey like? You went from being a lightly recruited prospect out of high school to walking on at Charlotte and becoming an All-American after the posting a ridiculous 15 sacks last season, to participating in the NFL Combine, and soon to be an early draft pick.
Highsmith: I’d say it was a tough journey but a good one. If you asked me I’d say I wouldn’t want it any other way. It has taught me perseverance, increased my work ethic, and helped me to have a drive that not many other guys have. It has taught me to be disciplined in all I do. Lastly, it has taught me to always have a chip on my shoulder and to carry that walk-on mentality with me everywhere.
Question: What was it like participating in the NFL Combine?
Highsmith: It was amazing. An amazing opportunity. It has been a moment I have dreamed about since I was a kid. To actually be there and to be doing it is such a blessing.
Question: What was it like when Dabo Swinney called you “the best player they faced” at that point in the season?
Highsmith: Humbling to know that my play was being recognized by one of the best coaches in college football.
Question: Is there anyone you model your game after?
Highsmith: Khalil Mack
Question: In high school, you also played baseball and basketball. What made you pursue football instead of baseball or basketball?
Highsmith: I knew that football was my best sport. Basketball I only played for a year and baseball I was good but not great. Football was also my favorite.
Question: Have there been any teams reach out to you multiple times or do you have a feeling on what team is most interested?
Highsmith: Falcons, Steelers, Eagles, Bills, Giants have reached out to me multiple times. I have also spoken with many more.
Question: Do you feel more confident playing with his hand in the dirt or standing up?
Highsmith: Confident with both. I can burst out of both, but when it comes to pass rushing situations I prefer to be in a three-point stance to explode out.
Question: What is the highlight of your career or your favorite moment?
Highsmith: Favorite moment was winning senior night in front of our fans to become bowl-eligible for the first time in school history.
Question: What is the one thing you’ve worked on the most during the draft process?
Highsmith: My versatility. Working on linebacker drills and dropping in coverage. Showing coaches I can not only get after the quarterback but also drop back in coverage.
Question: What’s it been like getting ready for the draft given COVID-19?
Highsmith: It’s been good. Being here in Wilmington, North Carolina. Doing cross-training with UFC fighter Derek Brunson and doing agility, footwork, and linebacker work with Terrance Williams. I’ve also been lifting weights as my old strength coach has been opening up the gym for me.
Question: What will the team that drafts you be getting in a player and a man?
Highsmith: Someone who has a motor and effort. I will contribute on special teams, defense, and whatever else is asked of me. I will contribute to their culture by bringing positivity, energy, enthusiasm to everything I do. I will bring energy every single day to whatever team I go to!
It was an amazing opportunity to communicate with such a high profile prospect, who is my favorite in this class. Highsmith isn’t just a good player, but also a good Christian man off the field. Highsmith will soon be another college walk-on turned NFL star, whose story can be an inspiration to young kids who aren’t being heavily recruited. I again want to thank Alex for his time and wish him all the best of luck in the NFL. #GOLDstandard
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