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Alabama in the Pros

Dont’a Hightower awarded by NFL’s Pro Football Focus

Greg M. Cooper - USA TODAY Sports

New England Patriots linebacker Dont’a Hightower is on the verge of winning a second AFC Conference title and appearing in his second Super Bowl. The former Alabama standout is having a solid fourth year with the Patriots, totaling 61 tackles, four sacks, two tackles for loss, a pass defended and a fumble recovery. His ability to generate pressure on the edge as well as blitz the “A” gap caught the attention of NFL’s Pro Football Focus, a database geared toward the league’s analytics. 

Steve Palazzolo, senior analyst for Pro Football Focus, listed Hightower as the NFL’s “Best Blitzer” in his 2015 Superlative Awards breakdown. A former two-time national champion, Hightower chimes in with the highest pass rush rating (94.0).

Another chapter will unfold next week in this historic Tom Brady-Peyton Manning rivalry as New England faces Denver.

Hightower can improve even more on his numbers against the Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on Jan. 24.

Stephen M. Smith is a senior analyst and columnist for Touchdown Alabama MagazineYou can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @ESPN_Future.

Stephen Smith is a 2015 graduate of the University of Alabama. He is a senior writer and reporter for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. He has covered Alabama football for 10+ years and his knowledge and coverage of the Crimson Tide's program have made him among the most respected journalist in his field. Smith has been featured on ESPN and several other marquee outlets as an analyst.

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