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30 Days Until...

RBR's countdown to the Alabama-West Virginia game continues with #30...

Kevin C. Cox

Although it is still July, a cool front swept through the southeast this week, a few leaves are starting to fall, Back-to-School sales are going on, and... FOOTBALL! To honor these last countdown days, we commemorate #30, Dont'a Hightower.

Hightower was a 4-star linebacker out of Lewisburg, Tennessee who shunned Fat Phil Fulmer and the Tennessee Vols to join Nick Saban's legendary recruiting Class of 2008.

He found instant success becoming a starter as a true freshman. He was named Freshman All-American by several news outlets and Freshman All-SEC by league coaches.

After starting the first four games of 2009, Hightower was victim of a cheap shot by an Arkansas lineman who cut blocked him causing a knee injury that ended his season. He was granted a medical redshirt.

Hightower returned to the field in 2010 and earned second-team All-SEC honors from the Associated Press and SEC coaches finishing with 69 tackles.

2011 was a huge year for the team captain as he was named a consensus first-team All-American with a career-best 81 tackles.

He now terrorizes quarterbacks and running backs in Foxborough, Massachusetts as the first round pick of the New England Patriots in 2012. In his first game for the Patriots, he recovered a fumble  and returned it for a touchdown. In 2013, Dont'a led the team with 97 combined tackles.

Alabama has been filling NFL rosters with linebackers for decades going back to the legendary Lee Roy Jordan and this generation is no different. Rolando McClain passed the torch to Hightower; Hightower to Nico Johnson; Nico to C.J. Mosley. Hopefully, Trey DePriest is the next in line.