Alex Highsmith's First NFL Game Made More Special by Support of His Parent
PITTSBURGH -- Alex Highsmith quickly became one of the most intriguing names in Pittsburgh when he was selected in the third round of the 2020 NFL Draft by the Steelers.
The outside linebacker immediately welcomed himself into Steelers Nation as a household name, while his father, Sam Highsmith, become one on Twitter.
How known is Sam Highsmith on social media? Well, known enough to be the first question asked to his son during a media Zoom call.
On Thursday, Highsmith was asked about his parents' support during his short time in the NFL. His mother and father spent Monday night's season-opener against the New York Giants tweeting out jersey pictures and Charlotte football love, which Highsmith got to see after the game.
"After the game, looking at all [my dad's] tweets, it was awesome," Highsmith said. "To be able to go out there, play for my family. My family is one of the reasons that I play this game. It was so awesome to see my parents celebrate, my parents wear my jersey back home. It's something that I truly love. I was pretty emotional after the game when I saw them wearing my jersey."
"I'm so thankful for them and so thankful for their support in my life."
Highsmith made his NFL debut on Monday night, playing 10 snaps for the Steelers defense and recording his first career tackle.
"It was an awesome experience going out there for my first time," Highsmith said. "I knew that the game speed was definitely going to be fast, but I didn't let the moment get to me. I went out there and did what I knew how to do. I felt like I prepared well going into the game. Having no preseason games is a little adversity to get through, but God, he rises in times of adversity."
Highsmith said he knew he would be backing up T.J. Watt and Bud Dupree in Week 1. He was aware his snap count would be low but did expect to see the field on defense throughout the night.
"It was cool having my first game on Monday night under the lights on primetime. It was an awesome experience," Highsmith said. "I showed flashed of what I could do whenever I got in the game. I just wanted to play with great effort, get after the quarterback when I was in. Do whatever I could to make plays."
Defensive coordinator Keith Butler said numerous times during training camp that he saw Highsmith playing as if he "belonged" on the field. A former walk-on turned third-round draft pick from the University of Charolette, the outside linebacker has never doubted his ability to play with NFL athletes.
"I've always felt like I belong," Highsmith said. "Whether it's coming here, being at the combine, I've always felt like I've belonged. That's the mentality I've had since I've walked-on at Charollette. I've always had a mentality that I belong. I got there when I was in college as a walk-on, nobody knew who I was, but I knew that when I got there, I belonged. Having that same mindset [with Steelers], that I belong and that I can contribute any way they want me to."