In this installment of the Recruit Notebook, we meet a tall and fast WR whose long striding style should be put to good use over the next few years: WR Brian Hightower.
Brian Hightower began building his reputation as a top tier playmaker as a freshman and sophomore at Calabasas (CA) HS. After posting a 71 catch, 1,344 yard, 14 TD season as a sophomore for the California school, Hightower transferred across the country to powerhouse IMG Academy, an athletically focused boarding school located in Bradenton, FL, for his final 2 years of high school.
Already a priority recruit for several West Coast schools, Hightower added his prodigious talents to IMG’s already loaded roster. He helped IMG to a 20-0 record over the last 2 years, routinely making plays when called upon. Hightower’s stats haven’t come close to approaching what he did as a sophomore, but with multiple 4-star and 5-star players on IMGs roster, individual stats are sacrificed for the good of the team.
Early on in his recruitment, many thought that Hightower would likely return home to play for the USC Trojans in college. But, with his move across the country to IMG Academy, Miami took the opportunity to build on their connection to the talented WR.
Miami made contact with Hightower at IMG multiple times as the Canes have signed players from the powerhouse school in each of the last few years. WR coach Ron Dugans made Hightower feel like a priority, and the 6’3” speedster definitely took notice.
After visiting Coral Gables a couple of times, and thinking over his options, Hightower committed to Miami in March 2017. He subsequently took unofficial visits to USC and UCLA when he returned home to Los Angeles over the summer of 2017, but those visits only solidified his decision to commit to Miami.
On the 247sports composite, Hightower is a 4-star prospect, the #36 WR in this class, #32 in the State of Florida, and #186 recruit overall.
Hightower committed to Miami over USC, Nebraska, and Alabama from a list of 32 other scholarship offers from around the country.
Hightower as a Player
Hightower has great size for the receiver position at 6’3” 202lbs. He could add a couple pounds if he wanted, but he has game-ready size already. Hightower uses his size well on the field, going up high for jump balls and using his large frame to shield defenders away from the ball when needed.
Hightower is a long strider as a runner. It takes him a bit of time to reach top speed, but he covers tons of ground when he’s running full out. He’s surprisingly good at getting in and out of his breaks, something that many taller receivers usually struggle with.
The thing that’s probably the best about Hightower’s game is his combination of size and speed. He’s a terror on deep balls, and has to have the full attention of the defense at all times.
- Jump balls/using his height
- Deep balls (his best on-field attribute)
- Route Running
- blocking (a key for Miami’s WRs)
- Consistent hands
- Having every route be equally as polished
Hightower brings size and speed to the Canes’ WR corps. He’s a bit less polished than fellow 2018 signee Mark Pope, and with Darrell Langham, Lawrence Cager, and Evidence Njoku already on the roster as “big WRs”, Hightower may face an uphill battle to find his way onto the field this year. However, none of those 3 WRs have the speed that Hightower does to pair with their size.
Chances for a redshirt: 5/10
Because of the talent ahead of him on the roster, I think that Hightower will most likely be an impact player in a year or two. He could find his way into the WR rotation as a freshman, or he could redshirt this year. Neither one of those circumstances would surprise me.
That’s it for this installment of the Recruit Notebook.