This week, I got the opportunity to interview NFL Draft Prospect – Alex Highsmith
Highsmith is a 6’4″, 240 lbs EDGE Rusher from Wilmington, NC. Highsmith started his college career as a walk on at UNC Charlotte. He redshirted his 2015 season to take time and develop as a player. Highsmith’s redshirt junior season showed promise, as he was named to the 2018 All-C-USA First team.
He started putting the nation on notice in his senior season, in which he posted seventy five TOT tackles, fourteen sacks, and twenty one TFL. Highsmith earned an All-C-USA First team selection for the second time for his incredible season. To round out Highsmith’s college career, he was selected to the 2019 All-American Third team by the Associated Press and PFF. *Interview was done over Instagram DM
Q: Describe what was going through your head during the recruiting process. After receiving interest from Furman, Charlotte, and Davidson, you decided to attend Charlotte as a walk-on. What were some factors that led you to that decision?
It was close to home, I got to be a part of a startup program, and the campus of Charlotte. Charlotte is only 3 hours away, and I knew that would be far enough away as well as close enough to home that my family would be able to come see my games. Being a part of a startup program really grabbed my attention. I had a goal when I got there, and that was to leave the program better than I found it. I believe I achieved that goal.
Q: Do you think you would be the player you are today without your red-shirting your freshman year?
I don’t think I would be the same person if it weren’t for my red shirt year. That year taught me so much and helped me to work hard and do whatever I could to help the team. It was also a good year to help me develop my game as well.
Q: You started to make a name for yourself your junior season, as you were a First Team All-C-USA selection. How did it feel knowing all of your hard work and sacrifice had paid off?
It was great to know that all my hard work paid off. I knew coming to Charlotte that I was going to be that caliber player eventually and it was really awesome to be named all conference. But that wasn’t the end for me, just a springboard to help me do bigger and better things.
Q: You accomplished great things in your time at Charlotte. You were a 2x All-C-USA selection, a third team All-American selection by the Associated Press, and set a new school record in career sacks. What has been your most memorable accomplishment and why?
My most memorable accomplishment from my career at Charlotte was being part of the first bowl team in school history. That was awesome because we had worked so hard and to see it finally pay off was awesome.
Q: What would it mean to you to hear your name called on draft night?
It would mean so much to me. Knowing that all my hard work has paid off to get me to this moment would just be a dream come true. To be able to represent the city of Wilmington, North Carolina and UNC Charlotte would be such a blessing.
Q: What advice would you give to other walk-ons who are trying to make a name for themselves?
Outwork everyone. Fall in love with the process and do the little things right day to day, week to week, and month to month. Be the first guy to show up and the last one to leave. Be early for everything and don’t be late for anything.
Big thanks to Alex for doing this interview!
Photo: Jacob Kupferman / Getty Images