Notebook: UA stars impress at pro day

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- You’ll have to excuse Dont’a Hightower if he doesn’t revel too much in his success at Alabama’s pro day on Wednesday. For the projected first-round selection, there’s still one more workout to go.

Hightower will participate in another pro day with teammates Trent Richardson, Mark Barron and Courtney Upshaw on March 29, tentatively scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. CT. He went through only a few of the drills on Wednesday, focusing on position workouts in front of the assembled crowd of NFL personnel. He turned in a 33-inch vertical jump and 9-foot, 9-inch broad jump.

Hightower said he has lost 10 pounds in an effort to trim down to the prototypical linebacker size. In Tuscaloosa, he said he wanted to show he could do more than put his hand on the ground and rush the quarterback.

“I feel like I showed everybody I had good hips,” Hightower said. “I’m able to come out of my breaks pretty well. I feel like I did really well as far as the position goes.

“I’m not really a drill guy. Once you get me in the pads and on the field, I feel like I did a really good job.”

UA coach Nick Saban said Hightower will fit in well with any NFL defense. In hybrid schemes, he’s especially well suited.

“I think he’s really done it all here,” Saban said. “He’s got a lot of diversity having played a lot of different positions. He’s going to offer the same thing at the next level: inside backer, nickel-backer, defensive end, odd rusher. There’s not very many other things you can do.”

Vlachos bulks up

William Vlachos has made an effort to put on more weight since ending his college career. The former Alabama center was listed at 294 pounds last year for the Crimson Tide, but he weighed in at 319 pounds at Wednesday’s pro day.

Even with the added weight, Vlachos ran the 40-yard dash under 5.2 seconds, which he was happy with. However, it’s the agility drills and the shuttle that may play a bigger role in whether or not he’s drafted.

“Obviously, these scouts and personnel directors get paid a lot of money to make decisions and evaluate that type of stuff,” Vlachos said. “I think certainly with interior linemen, it’s something that’s emphasized more than a 40-yard dash or a broad jump.”

Vlachos plans to wait until March 29 to bench press.

Limited participants

Josh Chapman and Marquis Maze were both on hand but did not perform on-field drills. Chapman, who is still recovering from a torn ACL, did lift weights and turnws in 29 reps on the bench press. He said his knee is healing well and hopes to be 100 percent by June.

“It’s pretty good,” Chapman said. “(Scouts) are trying to tell me to get back the right way, don’t rush it. I’m one of those guys, wherever I end up, I end up --- just want to be a part of anyone’s team. Those guys, they love me because I played the season with an injury, but at the same time I just want to be on someone’s team.”

Greg Ostendorf contributed to this report.