Sometimes the business of recruiting comes full circle.
Coming out of DePaul Catholic High School in Wayne, New Jersey, in 2014, safety Kiy Hester was a four-star recruit and signed his Letter of Intent with Miami (FL). Before he ever played a game for the Hurricanes, Hester transferred back home to Rutgers in order to be near his ailing mother.
This May, Hester will graduate from Rutgers and after considering entering the NFL Draft, he’s decided to transfer to another school to play one more year of college football and hopefully improve his draft stock.
When Hester was sophomore in high school, the first offer he received was from then Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi.
This time around, one of the teams vying for Hester’s services is again Narduzzi, this time with the Pitt Panthers. In fact, the Panthers’ New Jersey recruiter, Tim Salem. met with Hester and made an impression.
Pittsburgh Sports Now spoke with Hester about his future plans and his interest in the Pitt football program.
“When our season ended this year, I wasn’t sure what I was going to do — enter the draft or graduate from Rutgers and move on to another school,” Hester said. “Just recently, after talking with my mom and my high school coach we decided my best option was to graduate and play another year somewhere else
“After I got my release, I sent it to Coach Narduzzi. Right after that, he got on the phone with Coach Salem, who actually came out to visit me yesterday. He saw me and one of my teammates who’s also going to be a grad transfer, Marcus Applefield. Coach Salem was talking to us about official visits.”
Well Salem’s sales pitched worked. Hester said that he will make an official visit to Pitt, although he hasn’t finalized a date. He mentioned coming next weekend with Applefield as a possibility.
Hester is a player that will bring talent and experience to whatever school he decides to play for next fall. With the loss of Jordan Whitehead to the NFL, he would appear to be a great fit and would bring experience and leadership to a talented but young Pitt secondary.
“Our talk today was mainly about getting to know each other,” Hester said. “Coach Narduzzi knows me but this was me getting to know Coach Salem since he recruits this area. Coach Salem told me that once Coach Narduzzi found out that I was leaving he told Coach Salem, ‘I need you to go to New Jersey and get this guy.’
“My biggest strength is my football IQ, reading the opponents plays and know our defense. I just love football. I love to learn and watch film and it translate to the field.
Since his decision to become a grad transfer is fairly recent, Hester is still hearing from schools that are interested in talking to him. At this point, Boston College, which he met with today, and Wake Forest have expressed interest.
“I graduate in May, so I’d like to get this decision out of the way by March or April. I do know that before I graduate, I want to know where I will be going, maybe even before spring ball so I can start learning the defense.”