MIAMI (WSVN) - To help navigate today’s collegiate landscape, the Miami Hurricanes named Alonzo Highsmith as the general manager of football operations.

Highsmith spoke to 7News to explain his new role.

“Well, I think anything that has to do with football, from helping and recruiting, helping with the coaches, and whatever matter needs my help, mentoring the players, being here for Mario and working with the athletic department, I’m doing kind of like a Quasimodo, doing kind of doing a bit of everything,” said Highsmith.

Highsmith is a part of the University of Miami’s football Hall of Fame, and the university has been trying to bring him back to his alma mater.

“I don’t know, it felt right, I love the NFL, I miss the relationships I had, and I don’t think I would ever do this job for another college other than the University of Miami,” he said. “It’s weird because it’s something I thought was never really going to happen. I didn’t think I could pass this up, and if I did pass up, I didn’t want to look back 15 years from now or 10 years from now or even a year from now saying, ‘Maybe I should have.'”

Highsmith explained how his new role will impact Name Image and Likeness (NIL) deals for players and trying to get players to the university to get them paid as well.

“We’re not involved in that. That is something between NIL and the player who decides to come here,” he said. “We don’t set the number, I can’t say, ‘Come here and you’ll do this’ because that is against NCAA rules or anything like that, and it’s been weird because through this whole recruiting process, we never talked about the NIL. We want you to come here an be a football player.”

Another big change in college football is the transfer portal, which has changed the whole landscape.

With his scouting background, Highsmith explained how he will be involved with that.

“That’s something that’s interesting. I’ve embraced that, and it’s fun looking at players and understanding who is transferring, and it’s kind of like free agency in pro football, but with more guys,” he said. “You realize how much goes on in college football until I got here. Actually, pro football is kind of boring compared to this. This is something that I’m enjoying so far. Like I said, the best way to describe, it’s 24/7, it’s on pro level, and not much goes on. You have things go on, but it’s kind of like the machine that runs itself.”

Throughout his career, Highsmith has several accolades under his belt.

When asked if players recognize who he is, Highsmith said the following:

“They call me old school or they call me coach now, so it’s been fun,” he said. “I’m not a big past guy. I don’t believe in telling the kids about my past, and the only thing I want to mentor these kids in is workout ethic, and teaching them that it’s your time now, it’s your moment, make the most of your moment. Mario is tough. It’s going to be tough here. You’re going to have to work hard. You’re going to have to persevere. You’re going to have to overcome a lot of adversity, but the most important thing about this whole thing is I’ve always believed that anyone that is going to be successful in life is a husband, a father, co-worker, you have to willing to give more of yourself.”

The next step for Highsmith is to get the program back to where it needs to be, which will take hard work.

He is happy to be a part of the program, and his goal is to teach the next generation of players to be great.

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