Hightower Has Not Made Pro Decision
Alabama junior -- yes, that's right, junior -- linebacker Dont'a Hightower had another terrific game in Alabama's 24-7 win over Mississippi State in Starkville Saturday night. The 6-4, 260-pound leader of the nation's best defense punished the Bulldogs to a greater extent that his final statistics indicate.
Officially, Hightower had four primary tackles and seven assists. He was credited with one and a half sacks for nine yards in losses and two and a half tackles behind the line for 10 yards in losses. He was also credited with one pass break-up when he caught the Mississippi State quarterback just before he got the pass away, forcing a pass that looked like a Roman candle dud -- a little poof that went up a few yards and fell back down. Three Tide defenders battling for the ball knocked it away from one another for an incompletion.
And it's not in the official statistics, but Hightower "affected the quarterback," the euphemism Bama Coach Nick Saban uses for his defenders punishing the passer.
This week Alabama has its final home game of the year when the Crimson Tide hosts Georgia Southern at 1 p.m. CST. It was suggested to Hightower that it would be his final game in Bryant-Denny Stadium.
He respectfully answered the question, but said "possibly my last game."
Later, Hightower said that he had not made a final decision on whether to turn pro following this season. This is actually his fourth year at Bama since he was injured in 2009 and earned a redshirt season.
"I haven't made a decision on what I'm going to do," he said later Saturday night. "After the season, my mom and I will sit down with Coach Saban."
Let's be real. Hightower is the leading tackler (30 primary stops, 36 assists) on the defensive team that is leading the nation in every major statistical category. It's not very likely that he will be playing for Alabama at this time next year.
Hightower does have a few more games in crimson and white, though.
Hightower has high standards. Following Bama's Saturday night victory in which the Bulldogs were held to nine first downs, 12 yards rushing on 29 carries, and 119 yards passing, Hightower said, "All-in-all in was just okay."
Alabama did give up a touchdown, but Hightower said, "I'm not going to say that giving up a touchdown hurt my feelings." That's understandable since the defense had faced a first-and-goal from the four when the Bulldogs had a pass interception and runback and didn't give up a point. The lone Mississippi State touchdown was set up when the Bulldogs returned a kickoff 68 yards to the Alabama 22.
Hightower admitted that it was tough for Alabama to come off its 9-6 overtime loss to number one ranked LSU, "a game we could have won, should have won," and go on the road to play Mississippi State. He said the team was challenged to use the loss for motivation.
"We look forward to a situation where we may be able to play for the national championship," he said.
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