Alonzo Highsmith
Miami Hurricanes
Position:General Manager
Personal information
Born: (1965-02-26) February 26, 1965 (age 58)
Bartow, Florida, U.S.
Height:6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Weight:234 lb (106 kg)
Career information
High school:Christopher Columbus
(Miami, Florida)
College:Miami (FL)
NFL Draft:1987 / Round: 1 / Pick: 3
Career history
As a player:
As an executive:
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Games played:65
Player stats at · PFR

Alonzo Walter Highsmith, Sr. (born February 26, 1965) is an American football executive, former fullback, and former boxer. He is a General Manager for the University of Miami. He served as the vice president of player personnel for the Cleveland Browns from 2018 to 2019. Before that, Highsmith served as a senior personnel executive for the Green Bay Packers for six seasons from 2012 to 2017. He also played in the NFL for the Houston Oilers, Dallas Cowboys, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He played college football at the University of Miami.

Early years

Highsmith attended Christopher Columbus High School, where he played defensive end and helped his team reach the state championship final in 1982, while receiving All-American, Florida high school Defensive Player of the Year and the Dade County Athlete of the Year honors. He also played basketball and ran track.

College career

Highsmith accepted a scholarship from the University of Miami over offers from Notre Dame University and the University of Michigan. Although he was recruited by Howard Schnellenberger to play defense, he was converted to fullback before his freshman season started. He was a member of the 1983 Hurricanes squad that won the national championship, and led the team in rushing during the 31–30 victory over Nebraska in the Orange Bowl.

In 1984, Jimmy Johnson arrived as the new head coach and named him a starter as a sophomore, rushing for a team leading 906 yards on 146 carries (6.2 average) and 11 touchdowns. One of the hardest working players on the team, he would develop into a complete fullback that could run, block and catch.

As a junior, he registered 451 rushing yards on 117 carries (3.9 average) and 6 touchdowns, including a school record 88-yard touchdown reception against East Carolina University. In his last year, he was recognized as the nation's best fullback, while posting 442 rushing yards (led the team) on 105 carries (4.2 average) and 8 touchdowns.

Highsmith finished his college career with 1,914 rushing yards (second in school history), 2,935 all-purpose yards (fifth in school history), 25 career touchdowns (tied for first in school history) and five 100-yard rushing games (tied for second in school history).

In 1997, he was inducted into the University of Miami Sports Hall of Fame.

Professional career

Pre-draft measurables
Height Weight Arm length Hand span Vertical jump Broad jump Bench press
6 ft 0+78 in
(1.85 m)
236 lb
(107 kg)
33 in
(0.84 m)
9+12 in
(0.24 m)
34.0 in
(0.86 m)
9 ft 10 in
(3.00 m)
27 reps
All values from NFL Combine[1]

Houston Oilers

Highsmith was selected by the Houston Oilers in the first round (third overall) of the 1987 NFL Draft. He reported to the team after a long contract holdout, that saw him miss 6 months and 6 games.[2] As a rookie, he played in 8 games (3 starts) and registered 106 rushing yards.

In 1988, he started 16 games, rushing for 466 yards (third on the team) on 94 carries for a 5-yard average, while developing into one of the best blocking fullbacks in the NFL. In 1989, he started again 16 games, led the team in rushing with 531 yards and was second on the team with 6 total touchdowns.

During the 1990 season, Jack Pardee became the new Oilers head coach and implemented the run and shoot offense. The team decided that Highsmith wasn't a good fit for new system. On September 3, he was traded to the Dallas Cowboys in exchange for a second round (#38-Darryll Lewis) and a fifth round (#136-Tim Roberts) draft choice.[3]

Dallas Cowboys

Although he had started 40 straight games with the Houston Oilers, he had a series of offseason knee surgeries that had doctors recommending against the Dallas Cowboys acquiring him in 1990.[4] Head coach Jimmy Johnson, knowing Highsmith from his playing days at the University of Miami, ignored the medical advice regarding a potentially career-ending knee condition[4] and went ahead with the proposed trade on September 3.[5]

He played in 7 games (5 starts) as the lead blocker for rookie Emmitt Smith before being placed on the injured reserve list after not being able to fully recover from his previous knee surgery.[6] He had 19 carries for 48 yards and 3 receptions for 13 yards.

The next year, he had a contract holdout, that forced him to miss most of training camp. He returned as the third-string fullback and played in only 2 games, before being waived on October 1, 1991.[7]

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

On October 3, 1991, Highsmith was claimed off waivers by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.[8] Due to his chronic knee condition, he was released on October 7, 1992.[9]

Highsmith retired after playing in 65 games, posting 283 rushing attempts for 1,195 yards (4.2 avg.) and 7 touchdowns. He also had 42 receptions for 428 yards (10.2 avg.) and 3 touchdowns.

Boxing career

Following his football career, Highsmith became a professional boxer.[10] Over a four-year career, Highsmith amassed a 27–1–2 record in the heavyweight division. Twenty three of those victories came by way of knockout.

One of Highsmith's opponents in professional boxing was another former NFL player turned boxer, Mark Gastineau.

Front office

In 2012, he accepted a Senior Personnel Executive position in the front office of the Green Bay Packers.

On January 2, 2018, it was reported that he would be joining the Cleveland Browns as their vice president of football operations.[11] On January 10, it was confirmed that Highsmith would join the Browns, just as the Vice President of Player Personnel.[12]

After consulting for the Seattle Seahawks in the 2020 offseason, he accepted a full-time position as a personnel executive with the team on June 12, 2020.[13]

On May 26, 2022, Highsmith was hired by the Miami Hurricanes to serve as the general manager of football operations.[14]

Personal life

His father, Walter Highsmith, was a successful football player and coach. Like Alonzo, he also played for the Oilers, suiting up for them in 1972. He also played for the Montreal Alouettes, with Alonzo playing football and basketball in Montreal as a teenager. Walter was a former head coach for Texas Southern University and enjoyed several coaching stints in college football and the CFL.

One of Highsmith's sons, also named Alonzo Highsmith Jr., was invited to training camp with the Miami Dolphins, Kansas City Chiefs and the Washington Redskins. Highsmith's cousin, Ali Highsmith, played for the Arizona Cardinals.


  1. ^ "Alonzo Highsmith, Combine Results, -". Retrieved November 16, 2022.
  2. ^ "Highsmith To Agree On Deal". Retrieved May 9, 2018.
  3. ^ "Cowboys trade for Alonzo Highsmith". Retrieved May 9, 2018.
  4. ^ a b "Alonzo is Gonzo". Retrieved May 9, 2018.
  5. ^ "Cowboys Get Highsmith From Oilers". Retrieved February 19, 2018.
  6. ^ "Transactions". Retrieved May 9, 2018.
  7. ^ "Transactions". Retrieved May 9, 2018.
  8. ^ "Buccaneers claim Highsmith". Retrieved May 9, 2018.
  9. ^ "Transactions". Retrieved May 9, 2018.
  10. ^ "Ex-'cane Highsmith Fighting In Camacho Undercard". Retrieved May 9, 2018.
  11. ^ Demovsky, Rob (January 3, 2018). "Alonzo Highsmith leaves Packers front office to be Browns' VP of football operations". Retrieved January 3, 2018.
  12. ^ "Browns hire Eliot Wolf as assistant GM and Alonzo Highsmith as VP of Player Personnel". Retrieved January 10, 2018.
  13. ^ Ray, Meredith (June 12, 2020). "Seahawks Add Alonzo Highsmith In Scouting Department Role". Retrieved June 22, 2020.
  14. ^ "University of Miami Hires Alonzo Highsmith as General Manager of Football Operations". May 26, 2022.