Donta Hightower is a linebacker for the New England Patriots of the National Football League. He played college football for the University of Alabama, was recognized as an All-American, and was a member of two BCS National Championship teams. Hightower was selected by the New England Patriots in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft, and was considered one of the best inside linebackers of his class.
Hightower attended the University of Alabama, where he played for coach Nick Saban’s Alabama Crimson Tide football team from 2008 to 2011. As one of only two true freshmen to be regular starter for the Crimson Tide in 2008, Hightower started 12 games while playing in all 14 at weakside inside linebacker (“Will”) in the Alabama’s 3–4 defense, next to Rolando McClain who occupied the other inside linebacker spot (“Mike”). Hightower recorded 64 tackles (4th on the team) and 2.5 tackles for loss, while also having one forced fumble and two fumble recoveries. He had 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. He was subsequently named to numerous Freshman All-American teams.
Returning for the 2010 season, Hightower was the nucleus of a young defense. He replaced McClain as Alabama’s middle linebacker, and captained a defense that ranked No. 1 nationally in all five major categories—scoring defense (8.8 ppg), total defense (191.3 ypg), rushing defense (74.9 ypg), pass efficiency defense (83.9 ypg) and pass defense (116.3 ypg). Hightower led the team with a career-best 81 tackles, including 37 solo stops, as well as three sacks (-16 yards) and 9.5 tackles for loss (-35 yards). He also registered eight quarterback hurries, one interception, one blocked field goal and three pass breakups. He totaled 235 tackles and registered four sacks in his four years at Alabama, learning a NFL system under head coach Nick Saban — who he said is a splitting image of Bill Belichick.
Hightower was a consensus first-team All-American by the Associated Press, AFCA and Walter Camp as well as Rivals.com and Pro Football Weekly. He was also a finalist for the Lombardi Award, Chuck Bednarik Award, the Butkus Award and the Lott Trophy.
On July 19, 2012, Hightower agreed to a four year deal with the Patriots. Hightower had an awesome rookie season with the Patriots. He lined up alongside Jerod Mayo and Brandon Spikes to form one of the better linebacking trios in the NFL. When he scored a touchdown in his first game, a six-yard fumble return against the Titans in Week 1, it was clear that Hightower would be making a huge difference with the Patriots sooner rather than later.
The following year proved to be another successful season for Hightower as he led the team with 97 combined tackles. In Super Bowl XLIX Hightower stopped Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch at the 1-yard line, preventing Seattle from going ahead. On the next play Malcolm Butler intercepted Russell Wilson clinching the game and a fourth Super Bowl championship for the Patriots.
With the retirement of Jerod Mayo, Donta Hightower was named one of the team captains for the 2016 season. In the Week 6 matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals, Hightower registered 13 tackles, 2 quarterback hits, and 1.5 sacks including a safety on quarterback Andy Dalton and was named AFC Defensive Player of the Week. Hightower was named to his first Pro Bowl on December 20 and was also named second-team All-Pro.
The featured red, black and white nike superbad gloves were game worn by Donta Hightower in 2012, his rookie season with the New England Patriots. Hightower has signed the left glove and added “Game Worn” in black. The gloves show good use!