When Hester announced that he would use his last year of eligibility at Florida International University as a graduate transfer, the Scarlet Knights had players waiting in the wings to fill the vacancy Hester was leaving.
But when projected started KJ Gray was dismissed from the team following a “violation of team rules,” the depth among defensive backs became scarce, as Saquan Hampton suddenly became the only experienced safety. The only other options that made sense for the Scarlet Knights were Kobe Marfo and Damon Hayes, who shifted over to safety during the offseason.
Right when the safety situation in Piscataway was looking dire, Kiy Hester pulls off another superhero play and announces that he will be a Scarlet Knight this fall.
This isn’t the first time that Hester has decommitted from Rutgers; after initially committing to Rutgers as a high schooler, Hester signed with Miami but transferred back north before the first game of the 2014 season.
Ever since the 2015 season, when Hester made Piscataway his home, he has been electrifying Scarlet Knight fans with clutch interceptions and big stops in key situations.
There were not a lot of highlights for the Rutgers program as a whole in the last four years, but Hester was a bright spot during the dark days of the Scarlet Knight’s transition into the Big Ten.
During his redshirt junior campaign in 2017, Hester returned two interceptions for touchdowns, including a 52-yard touchdown during a 31-24 win against Maryland. Hester also picked up an average of 31.7 yards over three interceptions a season ago, and 37 total defensive tackles.
Not only does Hester’s highlight reel show off some of the best parts of the 2017 season for the Scarlet Knights, he also is one of the most accomplished players on the 2018 roster.
Named a All-Big Ten honorable mention a year ago, Hester was ranked fourth in the Big Ten with 1.2 passes defended per game. In addition to his skills on the field, Hester is a great locker room presence, as he knows what it takes to earn conference recognition.
When Kiy Hester announced his intention to transfer from Rutgers, it left a hole that the Scarlet Knights were capable of filling. But as the personnel that head coach Chris Ash had available to him changed, the Scarlet Knights began missing Hester more than they were expecting to.
It was then that Hester became the person to step up when Rutgers needed it most. While Hester might not have the starting job back when training camp begins next week, there is a very good chance that Hester wins back the job before the season begins next month.