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Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Four-star talks top seven, Rutgers visit

By Jared Shanker

A week ago, four-star athlete Kiy Hester (Montvale, N.J./St. Joseph Regional) named a top seven. A few days later, he took his first visit since releasing that lead group.

The New Jersey native made the hour-long trip south to Rutgers on Friday for the Scarlet Knights’ first camp, which was limited to several of the program’s top targets. Hester is right there at the top of Rutgers’ wish list.

Hester, who will play safety in college, did not participate at the camp, but he racked his brain with the coaches working on the mental aspect of the game and on his technical skills.

“They wanted me to sit in the meetings and build a closer relationship with the coaches,” Hester said. “I learned a few drills I can do by myself and work on my technique and craft and fix some things that’ll help me and benefit me in college.”

New secondary coach Darrell Wilson has only been at Rutgers since February, but Hester, No. 6 overall in New Jersey, has quickly developed a relationship with Wilson.

“We’re close right now,” he said. “They’re definitely high on my list right now.”

Miami, Michigan State, North Carolina, Ohio State, Vanderbilt and Virginia make up the rest of his top seven. He grew up a fan of the Buckeyes and always hoped for the opportunity to play for Ohio State.

While no official visit date has been set, Hester is confident Ohio State will receive one.

“I grew up really wanting to go there. Getting an offer from them, it made me feel like my dreams are coming true,” Hester said. “I love watching them play, and Coach Urban Meyer is there and him and Coach Nick Saban are probably the two best coaches. They definitely have a chance to play for a national championship, and I can see myself going there.”

The next visit for Hester, though, will likely go to Virginia. The Cavaliers are hoping to get Hester down to campus for an unofficial visit this summer, and he is pretty certain that visit will happen at some point. North Carolina could get an unofficial visit, too, but at the moment Hester is only confident about a trip to Charlottesville.

Hester works with the same trainer Cavs coach Mike London’s son used to work with, so Hester had a working knowledge of the kind of person London is through his trainer. Hester and London talk on the phone from time to time, and he is looking forward to finally seeing the campus and program up close.

Vanderbilt already secured an official visit from Hester, and he will make it down to Nashville the weekend of Oct. 19. He does not know much about the Commodores’ program yet, but the thought of playing in the SEC was enough for Vanderbilt to crack the top group.

“It definitely means a lot. The SEC is one of the best conferences,” he said. “[Vanderbilt] is building something over there and wants me to come be a part of it.”

Michigan State is the only other school with an official visit set, and Hester will make it to East Lansing for a second time in November. He went to Michigan State last summer and enjoyed his first experience with the Spartans.

The Michigan State staff and Hester remain in close contact, and because Hester has already visited, the Spartans coaches are telling him about the opportunities at Michigan State and not so much about what the campus has to offer.

“They keep telling me I have a chance to come in and play right away. I can come early and make a big impact,” Hester said. “The DB coach [Harlon Barnett] came to my school and said the only thing I need to work on is getting faster.”

Hester’s close friend Courtel Jenkins committed to Miami recently and is already recruiting Hester to join him. Miami coach Al Golden has strong ties to the New Jersey area, and Hester likes that the Hurricanes are recruiting the area heavily and successfully.

It is not a final seven for Hester, as he said will consider each new offer to come in. He expects a few more schools to offer during the season now that he is 100 percent healthy after injuries slowed him his junior season, which ended with a state championship.