Alex Highsmith is a prospect out of the University of Charlotte. He has a truly remarkable success story and is one of my personal draft gems this year! He has received a lot of buzz as of late and has been shooting up draft boards. Thank you for your time, Alex!
You measured in at 6’3”, 248 lbs at the combine. Clearly you were blessed with the size to be a successful athlete. Did you ever play any other sports? If so, why did you choose football?
I was a three sport athlete growing up, playing baseball, basketball, and football. Basketball was always my favorite sport. I chose football because I was best at it. I loved the contact and physicality of the game. I’m glad I was a multi-sport athlete, but football was the best for me.
Describe your high school football experience. What was your favorite moment, and how did it prepare you for College football?
My high school team never made the playoffs or did much. I started varsity for the first time as a junior. We had a game on a Friday night, but the game got stormed out. We had to come back the next morning around 11 a.m. We ended up beating a team who was thought to have been a lot better than us.
What inspires you to push yourself? What is your why?
My “why” has to be my faith. That’s the reason I want to make it in the NFL. I want to glorify God and use the talent that he has given me. I want to be a blessing to other people and give back to the people that I love.
Who is the best football player you have faced in your young career? How did they push you?
We played Lamar Jackson my freshman year. He was unreal to see. I faced Cameron Clark all year this past season. He was out starting left tackle, and I was the starting right end. He’s going through the draft process right now as well. Iron sharpens iron, and he really pushed me to be my best this year.
I’m a big film junkie, as it is really important to understand the game. As an edge rusher, what do you look for in the film room to give yourself an edge. How do you translate what you see to the field?
I look for ways to get sacks. So I look to see what formations teams pass out of. When we played Clemson, I knew when they came out in doubles they would pass nearly every time. In the game, I look at the offensive linemen’s eyes. If they’re looking down, they’re probably blocking down and I’ll have to squeeze.
Your short area agility and nose for the football pop off on the film. Which parts of your game would you say you look to improve the most upon? How will you improve in these areas?
I need to be more firm in the run game. I feel like I play with a lot of physicality and I get off blocks really quick, but sometimes it hurts me. I’ll over pursue and give them a gap. I just want to really focus on anchoring down against the run. I can also work on my hands and get off. I can still improve all across my game.
Are there any NFL players you look at and try to model aspects of your game after?
I watch a lot of different guys. For example, Demarcus Lawrence has one of the best cross-chops in the league, and I’ve taken that from his game and turned it into one of my most effective moves.
You’re a former walk on, but you steadily improved while at Charlotte. Now you’re getting ready to play in the NFL. Your story is an inspiring one. What have you done on and off the field to put yourself in this situation?
I really fell in love with the process. When I first got to Charlotte, I really wanted to earn a scholarship. I was too worried about the results. I’ve learned to appreciate the little things, and make steady improvements.
Of course I know how talented you are on the football field, but outside of the turf, what are some of your hobbies?
I really just like to chill at home. I’m not a big party guy. I like to play video games. I play Call of Duty and Madden a lot. I like read and go to the movies too. I just lay like to lay low with my friends and girlfriend.
You’ve told me a lot about yourself, but in a week or so, you’ll be in the NFL, and will have hundreds of thousands of fans cheering for you. Describe who you are not only as a player, but as a person. How do you want to be remembered?
As a player, I want to be remembered as someone who always gave my all. My motor always runs hot, and I will always give 100% effort. As a person, I want people to know I am a Christian first and foremost. I play the game of football, but I’m more than an athlete. I want people to know that I care about others more than myself.
Once again, thank you for your time and good luck.
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Photo: Univeristy of Charlotte