John Hightower is a native of Landover, Maryland who starred one both sides of the ball at nearby Riverdale Baptist High School.
Following his prep career, Hightower chose to pursue the JUCO path by committing to play at Hinds Community College. As a freshman in 2016, Hightower caught 18 passes for 273 yards and three touchdowns. He followed that with a sophomore season that saw him catch 13 passes for 236 yards and four more touchdowns.
After two seasons at Hinds, Hightower moved on to Boise State where he earned four starts in his first year on campus. During that 2018 season, he played in 10 total games and finished with 31 receptions for 504 yards and six touchdowns. He also saw success on the ground as he took eight carries for 163 yards and two more touchdowns.
As a senior in 2019, Hightower was named a Second-Team All-Mountain West selection at both wide receiver and kick returner. His receiving stat line set career highs with 51 receptions for 943 yards to go with eight touchdowns. He also averaged 24.6 yards per kick return and returned one for a score.
BSU vs Nevada - Oct 13, 2018— Great Plays in Boise State History! (@BoiseStateGuy) October 14, 2022
Down 3-0 in 1Q.
John Hightower takes the jet sweep and turns on the AFTERBURNERS for the 88 yd TD, tying Jeremy McNichols for the longest rush in Boise State history!
Also picked up a bogus penalty for excessive celebration, Key & Peele style! pic.twitter.com/17EChcRHa0
At the 2020 NFL Combine, Hightower impressed with a 4.43 in the 40-yard dash, alongside a 38.5” vertical and a 7.07 three-cone drill. Later that spring, he’d eventually be selected by the Eagles with the 23rd pick in the fifth round.
As a rookie, Hightower earned four starts while playing in 10 total contests. He ended the year with 10 receptions for 167 yards and no touchdowns. In 2021, he saw time in one game but recorded no statistics.
In 2022, Hightower signed with the Chargers on September 28th but spent the entire season on the practice squad. He signed a reserve/future contract to stay in Los Angeles into 2023.
College: Boise State
Years with team: 1
“John Hightower signed a 1 year, - contract with the Los Angeles Chargers, including an average annual salary of -. In 2023, Hightower will earn a base salary of $870,000, while carrying a cap hit of $870,000.” - Spotrac.com
Hightower came out of Boise State being viewed as a long-striding deep threat who could help an offense take the top off the defense. The Chargers lacked in that facet in regards to their receiver room ahead of the 2022 season which likely spurred the signing on.
His versatility as a return man and on special teams will increase his value, as well.
Hightower’s career path of earning four starts as a rookie, followed by zero over the last two seasons while changing teams doesn’t breed confidence that he’s progressing in the right direction.
Odds of making the roster/What to expect in 2023?
The wide receiver room just got a lot more crowded following this year’s NFL draft which means the chances of sticking around on the active roster are all but zero. As for a chance to land on the practice squad again, he’ll have to fight off Keelan Doss and UDFA Pokey Wilson who popped a bit during OTAs and minicamp.