Former Ashley standout Alex Highsmith selected in NFL Draft by Steelers

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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) -- The Pittsburgh Steelers drafted Ashley Screaming Eagles and Charlotte 49ers alum Alex Highsmith with the No. 102 overall pick in the third round of the 2020 NFL Draft on Friday night.

“Words can’t explain it,” said Highsmith. “I’m just so happy this was one of the organizations that I wanted to go to. I’m just so excited to get to work and do whatever I can to get the Steelers ring number seven.”

The Ashley graduate is the first Screaming Eagle football player to be selected in the NFL draft.

Highsmith was lightly recruited and chose to walk-on at UNC-Charlotte before earning a scholarship in 2017.

Because of the coronavirus Highsmith watched the draft at his family’s home in Wilmington.

“It’s just so special to be here with my family and my girlfriend and some of my best friends,” said Highsmith. "It’s so amazing to be here with the people I love the most. I wish I could have all the other family I wanted to be here. We were connected on zoom. I’m just so thankful.

This past season the Associated Press named Highsmith a Third Team all-America after ranking third in the nation in sacks (14).

Highsmith is the 49ers all-time sack leader setting school records for sacks in a game (4.5), season (14) and career (20), and TFL in a game (5) and season (21.5) during the 2019 season.