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Story Archives: College coaches...
It's not too tough to pick what college players are going to be outstanding pros.
If you said Ryan Mallett, Patrick Peterson, A.J. Green, Mark Ingram, Kellen Moore, Jake Locker were in for All-Pro careers, not many people would argue with that.
How about picking future top-notch coaches out of college or just out of college players.
I figure a Colt McCoy, Tim Tebow or Russell Shepard could be on that list.
But my list would be topped by former LSU and San Diego third-year player Jacob Hester.
Hester will certainly expect the most from his players. We're talking about a player who was old school, playing wherever needed, running over defenders instead of around them and slapping a defender's helmet in good sportsmanship instead of pounding his chest.
In 2007, Hester's senior season, he was on the Tigers' kickoff coverage, punt coverage, punt return, extra point and field goal teams, and started at fullback. As the top back in LSU's five-man rotation, he led the team in rushing attempts, yards and touchdowns while helping the 12-2 Tigers to their 10th SEC championship and second national title in five seasons.
In 2007, LSU converted an impressive 93 of 205 (45.4%) third-down plays, an NCAA-best 12 of 15 (80.0%) on fourth down and a ridiculous 19 of 26 (73.1%) whenever Hester touched the ball in either situation with four yards or fewer to go.
And also, Hester had carried 330 times without a turnover.
Do you think he's going to tolerate someone without that kind of heart and reliability?
No Tiger fan will ever forget the fourth quarter of LSU's 28-24 victory over No. 9 Florida when with his team trailing by three and less than 10 minutes to play, Hester converted a pair of do-or-die fourth-and-ones, and twice the big back responded with gutsy two-yard runs up the middle.
Three plays after the second conversion, he plowed into the thick of the Gators' defense for two more yards and the winning touchdown, upending the defending national champions.
Sure, you say, he had it on the field, but what about making decisions or planning strategy.
He was actually pretty good at that on the field at Tiger Stadium.
After his touchdown against Florida, Hester lay helmetless on his back, clutching his right knee in apparent anguish. But it wasn't the knee. Sand was lodged in his chinstrap snap, preventing him from buckling his helmet. And fixing the problem in time for him to assume his blocking duties on the ensuing extra point would have surely resulted in a penalty.
Rather than burn the Tigers' remaining timeout, Hester played possum. While he was being helped off the field during an injury stoppage, LSU sent in a sub, and the extra point was just routine.
What a stark contrast to the deer in the headlights look we all saw in the LSU-Ole Miss game last year.
Hester should have a good pro career ahead of him. But I wouldn't be surprised to see him dressed in purple and gold once again down the road.