Over the next week or so, we’ll be taking a deeper dive into what the newest Eagles to the nest had to say in their introductory press conferences in order to understand a little more about the man behind the facemasks. We’re going to kick things off with one of this haul’s biggest sleepers – WR John Hightower.
The 6-1, 189 lbs, receiver became a draft crush of mine very early on and for good reason. Hightower just seems to do everything well, as opposed to having a huge strength and some concerning weaknesses. As well-rounded as they come, Hightower enjoyed a short but explosive career at Boise State. Here’s everything you need to know.
The story so far
Hightower transferred from Hinds Community College ahead of the 2018 season, landing in Boise Satate. He played in 10 games and tied second on the team in touchdowns (8) and third in all purpose yards (870).
As a receiver, he caught 6 touchdowns and amassed 504 yards, leading the team in yards per reception.
What’s really interesting to note here is the fact he also rushed for two touchdowns. Hightower picked up 366 yards on the ground in 2018, with Boise State looking to use the electric playmaker in every possible way. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? (Ahem, Jalen Reagor)
This extended to kick returns in 2019, where the All-Mountain West second-team receiver/returner averaged 24.6 yards on kick returns, adding a touchdown to the mix. He started 13 of 14 games played in, leading the team in receiving yards (943) and touchdowns (8) on 51 catches.
If you’re curious, Hightower ran a 4.43 40-yard dash at the combine. For a 6’1 receiver, this is fast, and his 38.5 inch vertical isn’t too shabby either. What I find most interesting, however, is his 20-yard shuttle time, which is two-tenths of a second faster than Jalen Reagor, and the fourth-fastest time registered at the combine. This backs up what you see on tape – an explosive route-runner who can burst off the line of scrimmage and out of his cuts.
A former running back
You wouldn’t believe it, but there’s more than just a track background to Hightower’s game. He was actually a former running back, which explains why Boise State were so keen to let him pound the rock in 2018.
I was running track before I started playing football, so the track background definitely helped me. My track coach definitely played a big part in my life. He’s like a second father to me. Helped me get to track meets that my mother wasn’t able to transport me to.
When asked about a receiver that he models his game on, Hightower didn’t hesitate when mentioning Josh Allen’s newest shiny toy.
Yes, sir. [Bills WR] Stefon Diggs. He’s from Maryland also. He plays great. Great route running. He’s passionate about what he does. I definitely play my game behind Stefon Diggs.
There are definitely worse receivers to model your game after and you can absolutely see some ‘Diggs’ sprinkled into Hightower’s sharp route-running. Some violent hands and a real nastiness when sinking into his cuts almost make this area of his game in need of a premium Onlyfans account. Aaron Moorhead has a really fun project on his hand in Hightower.
Believe it or not, Hightower was a dominant deep threat during his time at Boise State (Shocking, I know). With a PFF grade of 73.4, the 23-year old actually averaged 18.5 yards per reception in 2019. If you divide the 82 receptions that year by the 8 touchdowns caught, he scored on every 5.85 catches…
My receiver coach at Boise State always told us to take advantage of every opportunity you get. So every opportunity that I got, I just tried my best to take advantage of it. Tried to score every time I would get the ball, run great routes, get open, try to get the ball, and score.
Outside of Football, Hightower loves dirt biking and has for a long time. He owned his first bike at the age of just four-years-old.
Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports