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June 24, 2010

Cardinals LB, Ali Highsmith Interview

by Max Strauss

Ali Highsmith played college football for Louisiana State University. He was a Butkus award semifinalist during his junior and senior year. In 2007, he was First-Team All-SEC. He entered the 2008 NFL Draft, but went undrafted. He signed with the Arizona Cardinals, appearing in six games during his rookie season. In 2009, he signed with the practice squad. He most recently signed a future contract. This interview was conducted before the 2010 NFL season. [UPDATE: He was waived by the AZ Cardinals, and then signed with the San Diego Chargers. He was later cut by them. Now, he is out of the NFL.]

Strauss : So, Ali, why do you make it a habit to connect to the fans?

Highsmith : I feel tweeting is a good way for the fans to get to know me off the football field. Some people feel they can’t approach you, but after they talk/tweet you the see what type of person you are.

Strauss : What was your favorite NFL team growing up?

Highsmith : I never really had a NFL team growing up. I always went with the underdog during games. I don’t have a favorite team. I’m a fan of players.

Strauss : Who was your childhood star? Why?

Highsmith : Deion Sanders was my childhood star because he played the game with enthusiasm. There was never a dull moment when he played.

Strauss : But, if you could meet anyone, who would it be?

Highsmith : Jessie Owens, Because I admire how overcame adversity, even at the top, and how he made it there.

Strauss : What is your favorite song to listen to before a game?

Highsmith : I listen to a lot of Lil Wayne and Rick Ross… There aren’t any particular songs.

Strauss : What is your favorite movie of all time?

Highsmith : The Little Rascals

Strauss : What is your favorite snack food?

Highsmith : Oreos. Gotta have my Oreos!

Strauss : What is your favorite TV-Show?

Highsmith : Family Guy.

Strauss : What is your favorite meal?

Highsmith : Caesar salad with steak, potatoes, and corn on the cob.

Strauss : What is your favorite video game?

Highsmith : Call of Duty World at War.

Strauss : What is your favorite type of pie?

Highsmith : Bean Pie.

Strauss : What is the one thing you can’t leave your house without?

Highsmith : My book bag.

Strauss : When did you see your first NFL game?

Highsmith : I’ve been watching football all my life, and if I can remember the first game I watched was the Dolphins v. Bills and the Bills won.

Strauss : So, how long have you played football?

Highsmith : I’ve been playing football since the age of six.

Strauss : Did you play any other sports in high school?

Highsmith : I ran the 100, 200, 400, and performed in the long jump.

Strauss : What is your favorite sport to play other than football?

Highsmith : My favorite sport to play is baseball. I’ve never played in high school or college, but I enjoyed playing the game with my family.

Strauss : When did you realize that you were going to play football in college and in the NFL?

Highsmith : I realized I was going to play football in college my junior year in high school which was around age sixteen, and I realized I had an opportunity to play in the NFL my junior year of college at age twenty-one.

Strauss : What did you want to do for your career before this change of thought?

Highsmith : I never really had any other plans. I am a go for it as it comes a type of person. God willing, after I retire I would like to start my business.

Strauss : What impact did your high school coach have on your career?

Highsmith : My high school coach basically formed me into a linebacker, before that I believed I was supposed to play safety.

Strauss : Describe the hardest change between high school and college football.

Highsmith : The hardest change for me was leaving my family and moving to a state where I didn’t know anyone.

Strauss : Why did you choose the number 7 at LSU?

Highsmith : LOL! I didn’t get to choose a number. That is the number they gave me, number seven.

Strauss : What is your best memory from LSU?

Highsmith : My best memory is playing against Virginia Tech my senior year, Sept. 8, 2007 on ESPN primetime. That night was the loudest Death Valley has ever been in my years of playing at LSU. It was my most exciting game. We won 48-7.

Strauss : What impact did your college coach have on your pro career?

Highsmith : My college coaches taught me the philosophy of the game. They took what I learned from high school and multiplied that by 10. They kept me on top of my game.

Strauss : Describe the hardest change between college and the NFL.

Highsmith : Oh Boy! My hardest challenge was having to make the team, adjusting to a new city, and learning the new playbook.

Strauss : Why do you wear the number 95 in the NFL?

Highsmith : I didn’t choose that number either, it was given to me.

Strauss : What is an experience you have had that changed your life?

Highsmith : When I was eleven I got caught stealing candy, the feeling I had when I got caught , was feeling I never wanted to feel ever again.

Strauss : What is your favorite quote?

Highsmith : “I never deny myself of an opportunity to do anything”

Strauss : For someone aspiring to play football in the NFL, do you have any advice for them?

Highsmith : Of course you have to stay focused, and never put anything in front of school because without school you wouldn’t be able to play on any level. Never give up when you when you feel it isn’t working for you. As long as you work hard someone will always see how determined you are.

Strauss : Thank you for your time.

Highsmith : I appreciate being given the opportunity to reach out to the fans in a positive light. Keep up the good work; you are doing an awesome job. Good Luck with your summer college courses. To all my Cardinals fans… Thanks for your support!

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