Hightower wins Captain Award

Saturday, December 18, 2010
MCHS football legend Dont'a Hightower (left) proudly stands with his sister Quenette and his mother L'Tanya Hightower with his framed Alabama team jersey, representing the coveted Captain Award Hightower received at the Alabama football banquet in Birmingham. (Photo submitted)

Former Tiger great Dont'a Hightower was bestowed with one of the highest honors a University of Alabama football player can receive when he was awarded the Captain Award during the University of Alabama Football Awards Banquet held Sunday, December 5 at The Cahaba Grand Conference Center in Birmingham.

Hightower also received the Outstanding Defensive Performer Award and Defensive Player of the Year.

The Marshall County High School graduate and 2007 Class-AAA Mr. Football in Tennessee was one of three players to be honored with the Captain Award, along with senior quarterback Greg McElroy and junior defensive back Mark Barron.

A red shirt sophomore, Hightower was injured during the fourth game of Alabama's 2009 national championship season versus Arkansas and is eligible for the NFL draft in April.

The Captain Award is a huge honor as the recipients are selected by their fellow teammates as leaders on and off the field, which speaks volumes of their character. These young men will go down in Alabama Tide history as part of the Denny Chimes Walk of Champions, whereby captains of the football team have placed their hand and footprints in cement slabs at its base since 1947.

The first recipients were Harry Gilmore and John Wozniak in 1947 and they were followed by a long list of Alabama football legends, including Joe Namath, Lee Roy Jordan, Ray Perkins, Ken Stabler, Johnny Musso, Ozzie Newsome, Cornelius Bennett, Derrick Thomas, Shaun Alexander, and last year's winners Rolando McClain, Javier Arenas, and Mike Johnson.

Hightower was one of two true freshmen to be regular starter for the Crimson Tide in 2008 and only one of eleven since 1972.

Alabama's Dont'a Hightower (30) in action during the Crimson Tide's 41-10 win over the University of Tennessee in Knoxville on October 23. (Photo by Danny Parker-Shelbyville Times Gazette)

He started twelve games as a freshman, but played in all fourteen, earning various honors, including Freshman All-American by the Football Writers Association of America at linebacker, second-team Freshman All-American by the Sporting News, a Freshman All-America selection by Rivals.com, and Freshman All-SEC selection by league coaches.

Hightower finished the 2008 season with 64 tackles (26 solos) to rank fourth on the team and had one forced fumble and two fumble recoveries, having at least one tackle in each game and had five or more stops in seven of 14 games, including 10 against Tulane and a career-high 11 at LSU.

This season, Hightower was second on the team in tackles with 67 (29 solos), including 3.5 for losses.

The No. 15 Crimson Tide and No. 7 Michigan State Spartans will meet on New Year's Day at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Fla.

The game will be televised by ESPN and will kick off at 12 p.m.