The national media took notice of
Highsmith's accomplishments as he recently was named to the preseason watch list
for the Chuck Bednarik Award, which goes to the top
defensive player in
As a prep standout, Highsmith was
one of the most coveted players in the south, coming out of
Heavily recruited by LSU,
He followed that performance with an even stronger senior showing, where he compiled 90 tackles, seven sacks, nine forced fumbles, and six fumble recoveries (three going for touchdowns) during the 2002 season.
Originally signing with the
Last season, Highsmith started in
nine contests, seeing action in all 13 games. He finished the year with 75
tackles, four sacks and a team-best three forced fumbles. He also had one fumble
recovery, which he returned 22 yards for a touchdown against Vanderbilt and was
named the SEC defensive player of the week for his performance in the team's
21-17 victory over
This season, Highsmith is projected to be LSU's top linebacker, and is slated as the starter at Will Linebacker spot.
Dearman's Perspective on Highsmith:
Through his prep career and his first two seasons at LSU, Highsmith has shown his ability to get to and stop the ball carrier, and has established himself as a playmaker with a knack for forcing fumbles and making key stops.
In 2006, he will be the anchor of the linebacker corps, serving as the leader of a talented but inexperienced group. We look for Ali to make a strong a bid for post-season honors and to be one of the top linebackers in the conference in 2007.