Rebels offer Tennessee athlete

Dont'a Hightower (LB, Lewisburg, TN) - The state of Tennessee has an unusual high amount of quality D1 prospects this year, and one of their elite players preps at Marshall County.

Their star player is a mixture of everything.

"I am being recruited for all over the field. Some like me at linebacker, others like me at defensive end, some at tight end, and some at running back," added Dont'a Hightower.

Hightower burst onto the scene his sophomore year when Marshall County's running back left the team.

"I started getting recognized the last four games when our starting running back quit the team. I rushed for a little over 1, 000 yards and 7 TD's in those four games."

Dont's growth spurt has probably left his running days in the past.

"I mostly played linebacker and tight end this year because I am up to 6' 2", 245. But I did play some tailback too. I had just under a 100 tackles, 2 sacks, and 7 forced fumbles. On offense, I had 18 receptions for 253 yards and 4 Td's. I started at running back too, but I do not know how many rushing yards I had."

Dont'a feels like his knowledge of the game gives him the edge over his competitors.

"I feel like I understand the game a little better than everybody else. My techniques give me the edge too."

Hightower is currently benching over 315 pounds and was squatting close to 500 pounds before having surgery on his leg last year, but he clearly understands he must keep improving his strength for the next level.

"Those numbers need to go way up. If I can keep getting stronger and get better with my techniques, I will be alright."

The '06 All-State selection has been hearing from several schools.

"The main colleges that are recruiting me are Ole Miss, Auburn, Vandy, Tennessee, Louisville, Ohio State, Alabama, MSU, and that is about it."

Any offers?

"Ole Miss offered me the week before I came to their Jr Day."

Did anyone accompany Dont'a on the trip?

"My mother, sister, aunt, and uncle came with me. Besides being five hours away, they enjoyed everything from their campus, to coaches, to their academic staff. They were just into it as I was."

And what new did Dont'a learn about the Rebels?

"They talked about their philosophies of competing. That was the main thing I learned. They are all about competing at Ole Miss, in everything you do, from the classroom, to the practice field, to the games. If you do not compete, you will get passed by in life. That is all they preached to us. When you compete, you better yourself, your teammates, your coaches, and your team. That is what I liked about Ole Miss."

What was the highlight of Hightower's trip?

"Their campus. I really liked their campus a lot. It is real pretty and clean."

Has Dont'a had a chance to take in anymore unofficial visits?

"I went to a game of Alabama's last year."

How did that experience go?

"Their pregame is what got me really interested in Alabama. The whole crowd really got into it and that got me pretty excited. I liked their fan support."

Who else would Dont'a like to visit?

"I want to check out Tennessee, Georgia Tech, and go back to Alabama and Ole Miss."

What stands out about the Vols?

"They had a good recruiting class last year, and they are off to another good start this year. It is also pretty close to home. I have always watched them on TV, and I would not mind being a part of that. Ole Miss too. I am not canceling anybody out."

What got Hightower interested in Georgia Tech?

"I have not seen them, but I want to see what they have to offer. I just know they must have real interest in me if they have not watched any of my film and want to offer me a scholarship."

How close is Georgia Tech to offering?

"Real close."

When it comes decision time; what will be the main factors?

"Depends on their academics, how close it is to home, and what position I would be playing. I would prefer to play tight end, but if not, I want to play outside linebacker."

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