Interview: Devin Hester

When I began my tour around the state this spring, my first major stop was the NIKE Training Camp in early April. Looking back, I felt there were a half dozen kids that could play at the University of Miami tomorrow. One of those players was Riviera Beach Suncoast standout Devin Hester.

Hester is a legit 5-11, which is what he measured in at the camp. He weighed 168 on that early April Sunday, and says he weighs exactly 176 today and plans on being 180 by the start of the season. He's been on a rigorous weight training program at his school this summer and it's really paying off. Hester says all he does every afternoon is run and lift, then run and lift some more.

On grass at that camp, Hester ripped off a blazing 4.33, which is one of the three fastest times of the 10 NIKE Camps put on so far this year. Now that's moving. He told me today that if he were to go back today, he thinks he could come near a 4.30 flat because the week of the camp, his coaches were timing him at 4.30 all week (before ripping off a 4.33) and this past week, the same coaches have been clocking him at 4.27. No matter how you slice it, the kid can flat out fly. He's one of the two fastest runners in the state along with Edison's Terrell Walden.

On the field, Walden has everything you want in an athlete. He plays running back, wide receiver, and cornerback and can rather easily dominate games from any of those three positions. I think his best position is at cornerback. He just is a rare football player at that spot. At his age, he's a better cornerback than Alfonso Marshall, Kelly Jennings, Mo Sikes, Marcus Maxey, and Leonard Myers. At this age, he's a better cover guy than Antrel Rolle. He's that good.

Your current GPA: 2.4 core

Your current test score: I got a 950 on the SAT.

Describe your playing style: I'm versatile, and I can play either side of the football.

Who called in May: I had so many call, I can't remember all of them. 32 schools have offered me a scholarship so far.

Have all 3 Florida schools offered? Yes, Miami, Florida State, and Florida.

If signing day were tomorrow, which three schools would be in the best position to sign Devin Hester? Florida State, Miami, and Purdue.

What do you like about FSU? They are recruiting me as a running back and since their offense uses smaller backs that catch a lot of balls, I think my style fits in real well there.

What do you like about Purdue? They have a very good passing game. They had a kid do real well for them who played at Palm Beach Lakes (Vinny Sutherland) and they told me I can step in from day one and be that type of player.

What do you like about Miami? They like me as a wide receiver and defensive back. I saw the things Santana Moss did for them and I feel I can be the next Santana Moss for UM.

Which position do you prefer to play: It really doesn't matter. If it's running back, wide receiver, or defensive back, it doesn't really matter to me.

Do you have a timetable for your decision: Not really. I just want to take my visits, then make a decision after the season.

Hester, who was named the MVP of the NIKE Camp in April, is one of the Top 10 prospects in the state in my opinion. As a wide receiver, he's a super prospect, but as a cornerback, he's rare. Whichever position he plays, Hester is a kid that has the talent and work ethic to make an early impact wherever he goes. Offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski is recruiting Hester.

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