The defensive end position has been a weakness for a few seasons now at Florida State, but things are changing quickly for head coach Mike Norvell his Seminole football team.
Last Thursday, Norvell and co. landed talented class of 2022 prospect Aaron Hester out of Neptune Beach, Florida. Needless to say, this was an important pickup for FSU as Hester is a legacy recruit and an extremely talented player.
As I like to do we are going to take a look at three traits that make Hester an FSU caliber prospect. There is a lot to like about Hester’s game but these three things will stand out the most. One thing you aren’t going to find here is non-football descriptors (hustle, effort, determination). I’ll save that for those other folks.
Low to high power
One thing you want to find out of a prospect lacking prototype height and length is the ability to play low to high.
What does that mean? Well watch the clip below and I think you’ll get a sense of it. Hester is able to uncoil like a snake from his ankles up through his hips to upper body and deliver power. This is important as his game is built on power and leverage.
Watch in the clip as Hester dips, gets under the tackle, and delivers a rising blow that knocks the tackle off balance. You see an ability to bull rush out of Hester in this clip that is encouraging for the next level. Some of the better power rushers in football have this trait and it’s something to look for out of a player who isn’t 6 foot 6.
A pass rusher has to be able to change speeds and be explosive. You get a sense of Hester’s ability to do that in the following clip. Watch mid-rush as Hester explodes through the outside shoulder and around the tackle. This is not his greatest strength today, but as he develops more of his power game, this burst will be an important counter move for him. Look for Hester to work the dip/rip into his game more at the college level as tackles learn to set shallow and expect his power moves.
One thing that jumped out to me on Hester’s film is his understanding of what is going on around him. He seemed to have a level of awareness to his game that you don’t always see. Whether it was good preparation or just a skill that can’t be taught the awareness is present. Watch in the following clip as Hester dips (see that above) around the tackle and then gets his hands up on a bubble throw. Pass rushers can impact a quarterback any number of ways and batting the football down is as good as a sack. The awareness on this play to read the QB coming off a dip move is impressive to me.