WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Jonathan Cooper, Connor Barth and Desmond Bryant are some of the most recent area high school football players to play in the NFL. Now, former Ashley High School standout Alex Highsmith hopes to join that list.
Coming out of high school, Highsmith was lightly recruited and chose to walk-on at UNC Charlotte.
“I had a goal when I stepped on campus in 2015 to earn a scholarship and I wanted to leave the place better than I found it,” said Highsmith. “It feels good to know that we’ve done that. And see how the culture is improving.”
Highsmith earned a scholarship in 2017 and certainly made the most of it. As a senior he was named third-team AP All-American after setting school records for sacks in a single game, season, and career while leading the 49ers to the program’s first ever bowl berth during his senior season.
“I’m thankful for the path that I’ve taken,” Highsmith said. “Being a walk on and having to earn that scholarship. I’m thankful for that and it’s taught me a lot of lessons. Character work ethic and perseverance and stuff like that.”
With his college career over, he’s headed to Arizona to train, hoping to hear his name called on draft day.
“All I want is an opportunity,” said Highsmith. “The same way I came to Charlotte I just wanted an opportunity. Take it and run with it no matter where I get drafted or if I don’t get drafted, it’s just going to be more motivation for me.”
On January 18 Highsmith will play in the Shrine Bowl in St. Petersburg, Florida.