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Alonzo Highsmith Leaves Seahawks, Accepts Role at University of Miami

Returning to his alma mater, Highsmith will have a chance to once again leave his mark on a Hurricanes program that has dropped out of national relevancy in recent seasons.

One of the Seahawks key cogs in their front office is heading back to his alma mater.

As officially announced by the university on Thursday, Seahawks scouting executive Alonzo Highsmith will be re-joining the Miami Hurricanes as general manager of football operations. It remains unclear whether or not the franchise will pursue a replacement to fill his vacancy before the start of the 2022 season.

Highsmith, 57, starred in Coral Gables as a fullback from 1983 to 1986. In four years on campus, he rushed for 1,873 yards, caught 92 passes for 977 yards, and scored 25 total touchdowns, including scoring in Miami's 1984 Orange Bowl victory over Nebraska that captured a national championship. He was inducted into the University of Miami Sports Hall of Fame in 1997.

"Alonzo is a true Miami Hurricane," Miami head coach Mario Cristobal said in a statement posted by the university. "He understands the commitment and sacrifice it takes to be a champion on and off the field. His tremendous passion for the University of Miami and this city is unparalleled.

"Alonzo brings experience as a student-athlete, a first-round NFL draft pick and an NFL executive. He shares our vision for the trajectory and the culture of this football program, and his knowledge and experience will allow him to make a positive and powerful impact on our program and community. I am fired up to welcome home another Miami Hurricane!"

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After helping put the 'Canes on the map in a stellar collegiate career, the Oilers drafted Highsmith third overall in the 1987 NFL Draft. He played six seasons with three different teams, rushing for 1,195 yards, catching 42 passes, and scoring 10 touchdowns. Following the end of his football career, he transitioned into boxing, posting a 27-1-2 record with 23 knockouts.

Joining the Seahawks in 2020, Highsmith spent the past two seasons with the organization and most recently held the title of senior executive assistant to general manager John Schneider. Prior to coming to the Pacific Northwest, he spent six seasons with the Packers as a senior personnel executive and two seasons with the Browns as vice president of player personnel.

Returning to the Hurricanes, Highsmith will have a second chance to elevate the program back into national relevancy as he once did as a player. Once viewed as one of the nation's powerhouse programs, they have not won an ACC championship since joining the conference and have not competed for a national title since 2002.

"It is an honor to come back to the University of Miami and I am very humbled," Highsmith said in the statement released by the program. "The opportunity to work with Mario Cristobal and [athletic director] Dan Radakovich, as well as my passion and love for the city of Miami is what brought me back. I could not pass up this opportunity and this challenge."

Over the past several seasons, the Seahawks have seen an exodus of high-profile scouts from the organization. Heading back to Miami, Highsmith joins Panthers general manager Scott Fitterer, Panthers assistant general manager Dan Morgan, and Colts assistant general manager Ed Dobbs as the latest member of the front office to depart. Area scout Tyler Ramsey also left with Fitterer for Carolina to be elevated to a national scout.