Arkansas Football: What You Need to Know About Razorbacks LB Alonzo Highsmith
On April 1, Arkansas Razorbacks linebacker Alonzo Highsmith was riding high. He and his teammates were positioning themselves for a run at the SEC West.
All of that changed with the firing of head coach Bobby Petrino, the mastermind behind the success at Arkansas.
Highsmith and his teammates must now regroup under new head coach John L. Smith, and hope the squad can still contend for the division title.
To do so, it's going to take strong leadership. On the defensive side of the ball, it doesn't get much bigger than Highsmith.
Here's everything you need to know about the Razorbacks linebacker.
Position: Outside linebacker
Weight: 245 pounds
Hometown: Missouri City, Texas
2011 Solo Tackles: 37
2011 Assisted Tackles: 43
2011 Sacks: 4.5
He's Coming off an Injury
Highsmith was out for all of spring practice after tearing his left pectoral muscle.
All of the issues with Petrino occurred after that, but still Highsmith persisted.
He's now back and ready to go, teaming up with senior Tenarius Wright to form a formidable middle in the Arkansas linebacking corps.
Despite the injury, Highsmith is on the Butkus Award watch list, which is given out to the nation's top linebacker.
Football Runs in His Blood
Football runs in Highsmith's blood.
His father, Alonzo Sr., was a running back for the Houston Oilers, Dallas Cowboys and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Over the course of his six-year career, Alonzo Sr. had 283 carries for 1,195 yards and seven touchdowns. His two biggest seasons were between 1988-89, when he rushed for 997 yards and six touchdowns with the Oilers.
After his football career finished, Alonzo Sr. tried his hand at boxing. During his four-year career, he went 27-1-2 with 23 knockouts.
Highsmith's brother A.J. is a defensive back for the University of Miami, while his half-brother Brandon Thermilus is a running back at the University at Buffalo.
It's His Time to Shine
There's always a big shadow cast over any player whose father played in the NFL.
Some simply can't live up to expectations and will always be considered a disappointment, while others rise above it.
In his senior year, Highsmith will have a chance to rise above his father's shadow and make a name for himself.
With a strong 2012-13 season and a potential SEC title, people will stop asking if Highsmith is his father's son; they'll ask his father if Highsmith is his son.
Highsmith has worked hard for more than a year at Arkansas and for two years previously at Phoenix Community College.
With his team still reeling from the loss of Petrino, Highsmith has the ability to lead the defensive unit to one of its best seasons in team history.
However, the only way he'll do that is by coming out from behind the shadow of his father and playing the way we all know he can play.