Jacob Hester #22 RB
Height: 5-11 Weight: 225 Age: 29
Born: 5/8/1985 Shreveport , LA
Experience: 6th season
High School: Evangel Christian Acad. [Shreveport, LA]
Selected By: San Diego Chargers
Pick (Overall): 6 (69)
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."