Photo of Jacob Hester
Grade
?
  • 6.85 SEC
    Top Performer
  • 4.24 SEC
    Top Performer
  • 5'11" Height
  • 230LBS. Weight

Overview

Regarded as the best receiving fullback in college football, Jacob Hester did a stellar job playing halfback during the Tigers' national championship march in 2007.

Hester was capable of filling almost role coaches asked. As a freshman and sophomore, he was mostly a blocker on offense, but he also made a name for himself as a fierce tackler on kick-coverage units.

At Evangel Christian High School, Hester was regarded as the state's top fullback, earning Louisiana Class 5A Offensive MVP honors in 2002. A member of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Super Southern 100 team, he led his team to a pair of state titles. He rushed for 868 yards on 182 carries and 22 touchdowns en route to the Class 5A state champion-ship game in 2003, as he also made 47 catches for 523 yards and four scores.

As a junior, Hester rushed for 1,593 yards on 222 attempts with 24 touchdowns to spearhead the Eagles to the state title in 2002. He also caught 24 passes for 311 yards and two touchdowns.

As a true freshman at Louisiana State, Hester started vs. Georgia while appearing in 11 games for the offense in 2004. He managed just 123 yards on 20 carries (6.2-yard average) and 21 yards on two catches (10.5 avg). Where he made a name for himself was on special teams, delivering nine tackles (five solo).

He continued to excel on the coverage units in 2005, twice being named the Tigers' Special Teams Player of the Week. He started vs. Arkansas and appeared in 13 games on offense, totaling 114 yards with two touchdowns on 25 attempts (4.6-yard average). He snared 11 passes for 63 yards, returned a short kick five yards and fielded one punt for an 11-yard return. He picked off a pass for a 22-yard return vs. North Texas, blocked one kick and registered 11 tackles (five solo).

Whether lining up at halfback or fullback, Hester went on to start all 13 games in 2006. He led the team with a paltry 440 yards on 94 carries (4.7-yard average), running for six touchdowns. He finished fourth on the squad with 35 receptions for 269 yards (7.7-yard average) and three scores, adding seven special teams tackles (six solo). Just minutes after LSU beat Arkansas on Nov. 24, Hester proposed to his girlfriend outside War Memorial Stadium. They married in the summer prior to his senior year.

Hester garnered All-Southeastern Conference second-team honors in 2007. He took over halfback duties full-time, rushing for a career-high 1,103 yards and 12 touchdowns on 225 attempts (4.9-yard average). He caught 14 passes for 106 yards (7.6 avg) and a score, as he also posted eight tackles (4 solos), causing a fumble that he recovered on special teams.

In 51 games at Louisiana State, Hester started 29 contests. He carried 364 times for 1,780 yards (4.9-yard average) and 20 touchdowns, fumbling just once during his career. He gained 459 yards with four scores on 62 receptions (7.4 avg), five yards on a kickoff return, 11 yards on a punt return and 22 yards on an interception return. He registered 35 tackles (20 solo) with a fumble recovery, a forced fumble and one blocked kick.

Hester made a big impression on scouts during practices at the Senior Bowl. San Francisco 49ers coach Mike Nolan said he would highly recommend Hester to anyone -- and maybe himself.

"He's an interesting guy," Nolan, the coach of the South team for the Senior Bowl game, said at a press conference following the last full practices for both teams. "Those kinds of guys typically play. They play for a good while, and they help teams win a lot of games."

Hester's versatility and "it" factor made him a cult figure in Baton Rouge.

"Sometimes you're hoping a guy is that kind of guy when you really don't know," Nolan said. "But what I've seen in college of him, a couple of things tell me that he will be that guy. Number one, I believe he was a key player on the national championship team. I would be shocked if he's not a damn good NFL player for that reason alone. I don't care what they say, I'll be shocked if he's not a damn good NFL player."

Analysis

Strengths

Positives: Has good chest thickness, a wide back, very thick thighs and calves and large hands to secure the ball before running...His best asset is versatility -- he is a good north-south runner at halfback, efficient blocker on pulls and traps, solid receiver as an H-back and a determined tackler on special teams...Blue-collar type, he loves playing a variety of roles and gets high praise from the coaching staff for his work ethic...Has the work ethic that younger players try to emulate...Has good quickness once he clears the line (just won't win long-distance footraces)...Has developed into a solid receiver, as the coaches have to chase him off the practice field, where he put a lot of emphasis on his pass-catching ability...Lacks ideal size and bulk to play fullback and is too slow to be a halfback, but compensates with a classic overachieving attitude, giving total effort on every snap...Will not hesitate to sacrifice his body and is very good at sticking his hat into an opponent to break up the wedge, as he excels in his special-teams role, playing with a mindset that no one is going to generate a big return on his team...Runs at a good pad level, showing the vision to locate soft spots underneath...Very alert to coverage schemes, blitzes and stunts...Has the functional strength to break arm tackles, showing good body lean to fall forward in attempts to gain extra yardage...Can punish a smaller defender in the open field, as he knows how to square his shoulders and power through second-level opponents...Not explosive, but has decent quickness out of his stance and into the hole when he stays low in his pads...Has the balance to get upfield after the catch and compensates for a lack of a second gear with decisiveness running with the ball in his hands (rare to see him run into a crowd)...Does not show much shake and is not flashy trying to avoid, but has some in-line slide ability that lets him bounce or cut back to avoid (mainly a one-cut runner with no wiggle)...Attacks the hole with good determination and is smart enough to take what he can when the rush lane is clogged)...Shows functional strength on contact and has the upper-body strength that makes it tough for defenders to dislodge the ball...Runs crisp short-area patterns and has enough ability to create separation out of his breaks (can be caught from behind)...Eases into his routes and is alert to the blitz, working back nicely when the pocket is pressured...Has the large, soft hands to catch outside his frame and is more than just a "hot" receiver that is used on dump-offs...Will step up and take on bigger defenders when pass protecting, but his size does limit him sustaining the rush lane as a blocker (does better blocking in the backfield or in the open field than in the rush lanes). Negatives: Has only adequate shoulder width and lacks the ideal bulk you look for in a pro fullback...Arms are shorter than ideal (29 3/4-inch length), but he does have large hands to properly secure and protect the ball...Lacks the second gear and suddenness out of his stance to be anything more than a north-south runner...Struggles to widen the rush lane when serving as a lead blocker in tight areas (better blocking on the edge)...Does not have the speed to quickly get out and neutralize second-level defenders (compensates by taking good angles)...Has thick legs and good lower-body strength, but does not consistently push the pile on short-yardage situations (lots of carries for no gain)...Can catch the ball in stride, but is a bit stiff in his upper body to get a good turn trying to adjust to off-target tosses...Does not have the lateral moves or change-of-direction agility to make the initial tackler miss...Runs at a low pad level, but his feet will die when trying to run in a phone booth (needs room to get going)...Because of his short arms, he does not win many jump balls or get to the pass at its high point...Runs decent vertical routes, but he struggles to track the ball over his head on extended routes. Compares To: MARC EDWARDS-ex-New England/Jacksonville/Chicago...Hester is sort of a hybrid who can easily interchange between fullback and halfback. With his receiving skills, he can also be utilized as a motion-type H-back coming out of the backfield. There might be faster runners and more powerful blockers around, but Hester is the consummate team player and will improve any NFL roster. He is a highly instinctive player who will take on whatever task the coaches need. In addition to his talent on offense, he rates with the elite special-team players, a trait that is sure to make this "average Joe" a fan favorite.
C
Grade Title
9.00-10 Once-in-lifetime player
8.00-8.99 Perennial All-Pro
7.50-7.99 Future All-Pro
7.00-7.49 Pro Bowl-caliber player
6.50-6.99 Chance to become Pro Bowl-caliber player
6.00-6.49 Should become instant starter
5.50-5.99 Chance to become NFL starter
5.20-5.49 NFL backup or special teams potential
5.01-5.19 Better-than-average chance to make NFL roster
5.00 50-50 Chance to make NFL roster
4.75-4.99 Should be in an NFL training camp
4.50-4.74 Chance to be in an NFL training camp
No Grade Likely needs time in developmental league.
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