Hightower ready to defend for Patriots

Smart and tough are attributes associated with the versatile Alabama linebacker Dont'a Hightower. Those two prerequisites have been known to attract the attention of New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick. The Tide's vocal defender was chosen in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the perennial Super Bowl contender.

The Patriots traded up the draft board by offering their first round selection at thirty-one and a fourth round choice to obtain the Denver Broncos twenty-fifth in acquiring the Lewisburg, TN native (Marshall County HS). A smooth transition to learn coaching compatriot Belichick's defensive system should ensue after mastering the similar complex schemes of Nick Saban.

Dont'a Hightower was a two-time Alabama captain and could have been the first Crimson Tide player to be a three-time captain had he elected to return to The University for his final season of eligibility. Hightower, however, had spent four years at Alabama. He had been granted a redshirt season after suffering a season-ending knee injury against Arkansas, his "first" sophomore year in 2009.

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