One of the nation’s top underclassmen, regardless of position, is Bradenton (Fla.) IMG wide receiver Brian Hightower.
Notre Dame offered the 6-foot-3, 196-pound athlete on March 24.
“I knew they were thinking about offering because they had been talking to some of my teammates and some of the older guys that they’ve recruited about me. When I talked to coach (Autry) Denson about the offer, that was actually the first time we’ve ever talked.”
Notre Dame signed two from IMG in 2016, mid-year enrollee safety Spencer Perry and running back Tony Jones Jr.
“It’s a tradition-filled and winning program,” Hightower said. “They put a lot of people in the NFL, and the academics are great.”
Hightower holds offers from Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Louisville, Maryland, Miami, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio State, Ole Miss, Tennessee, UCLA and Washington.
He’s still almost two years away from signing a letter of intent, but four programs have separated themselves from the pack.
“I’m not really sure of my favorites, but I’ll get there eventually,” Hightower said. “Florida, Nebraska, Tennessee and Alabama are recruiting me the hardest right now, though and I have good relationships with those schools.
Hightower transferred to IMG from Calabasas (Calif.) three months ago. Despite his ties to the West Coast, he doesn’t necessarily envision a return to the West Coast for college.
“Location doesn’t matter,” Hightower said. “It really doesn’t. Coaches are going to be the biggest thing for me. Just how they are with the players and how they build those relationships with the guys they coach and the people around them.”
Scout national analyst Greg Biggins believes Hightower possesses a high ceiling.
“He has soft hands and catches everything away from his body, has excellent timing in jump ball situations, is a smooth route runner, very good body control and is even a willing blocker. Hightower is one of those players where the game just looks easy for him and he has a chance to be as good as he wants to be down the line.”
“I’m an all-around wide receiver,” Hightower said. “I can take a screen to the house or I can go for the deep ball.”
Hightower has tentative plans to visit Alabama on Friday and Auburn on Saturday with a few of his IMG teammates.