2022 defensive end and Florida State legacy, Aaron Hester, was one of the first members of #Tribe22. He committed to the Seminoles back in January and hasn't looked back. Despite some struggles to begin the season, Hester isn't wavering in his pledge.
“I’m solid in my commitment," Hester said to NoleGameday's Dustin Lewis. "I know that FSU is a young team, new staff, new players, so I can understand the struggles but I’m still confident in my team. I’m committed and solid.”
One of the bright spots on the team has been the defensive ends, headlined by the P5 leader in sacks, Jermaine Johnson. The unit has completely flipped its production around after a disappointing effort off of the edge in 2020.
“I really like it," Hester said. "I like the production, I like what coach Haggins and coach JP are doing. It really paves the way and makes you say to yourself, ‘I can do that, I want to be the next person to do that, I want to be the next line.’ So I’m really happy with them.”
There has been some worry that Florida State's No. 11 ranked recruiting class could begin to crumble over the past few weeks. Hester believes that most of the commitments are solid and will stick with the Seminoles.
“I’m glad you asked me," Hester said. "When we look at FSU, I think for the most part all of us are solid. When we look at that team, we’re looking and saying, ‘here’s a team that I really see myself contributing to. I can come in and play early and help this team. The fact that I want to help this team, I’m not doing it just because I have the opportunity to play early, this is the school I want to go to.’ We told ourselves that and we’re sticking to it.”
The Florida native is in the midst of his senior season and fighting for an opportunity to make the playoffs. He has a big game on Friday night that could decide Fletcher's postseason fate.
“We’re a young team but we’ve won our past two games and I’m feeling pretty confident," Hester said. "We have a huge game this week against Nease that determines if we go to the playoffs or not. This is a big game, I’m really excited to see what we do, I’m ready to play."
As for his personal performance, Hester has recorded over 50 tackles and 5.5 sacks in six games. He's continuing to develop as a pass-rusher and has also recently spent some time at linebacker. Hester believes that's a spot that he could eventually play at Florida State.
“I’m feeling great," Hester said. "I have over 50 tackles and 5.5 sacks through six games, three pass-breakups, countless hurries. I’m really progressing into a great pass-rusher, great linebacker. My versatility, I’m expanding that role as a backup linebacker which I probably will play in college. I’m feeling really confident.”
Despite his longtime commitment to Florida State, there are still a few schools from the SEC that are pursuing Hester hard.
“South Carolina, Miss State," Hester said. "There are a couple that are still hitting me up pretty regularly.”
The Fletcher High School product visited FSU in September for the season-opener. He plans to return to Tallahassee to watch the Seminoles take on Miami next month. Is there a possibility that he could visit other schools?
“I might go to some other games just to watch," Hester said. "I’m not really entertaining any other people.”
Hester will sign his letter of intent with Florida State in December and enroll in January. He's looking forward to getting an early start on his collegiate career.
“I feel pretty confident in my ability," Hester said. "I feel like once I get in there and add a few pounds I could be on that starting lineup and that’s what I’m hoping for. Getting those plays in my brain, I really feel like it will help me. Plus, I’m not the only one enrolling early. I’m pretty sure that there are a good number of us coming in January. It’s going to be a good development process and that means I won’t be thrown immediately into the fire in the summer. It’s a plus I believe.”
The 6-foot-3, 221-pound defensive end is ranked as the No. 421 overall prospect, the No. 25 EDGE, and the No. 61 recruit in the state of Florida in the 2022 class according to 247Sports.
Stick with NoleGameday for more on Hester with the Early Signing Period coming up.
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