Aaron Hester, the 6-foot-1, 188-pound four-star cornerback from Dominguez High School in Compton, Calif., committed to UCLA last March and says he remains firmly committed to the Bruins.
"I'm still committed," Hester said. "I'm pretty solid. I can't really say if it's 80 or 90 percent, but it's pretty good. I'm going to UCLA (where he'll officially visit on Dec. 14).
"When I committed I just felt like it was the right thing to do and my parents and grandparents really supported my decision and still do," Hester said. "I think I'm a real good fit for them and I'm gonna go in and be ready to compete. My goal is to play in that first game against Tennessee next year."
Hester, ranked as the No. 12 cornerback in the country by Scout.com, says that UCLA's tumultuous season never caused him to consider decommitting to another program. "As the season went on a lot of people were putting a bug in my ear about coach Karl Dorrell getting fired, but I didn't believe it until it happened. I guess I wasn't shocked, but it was still surprising.
"There was never really any time where I thought about decomitting," he said. "I'm a man of my word. Obviously there were little events during the year that made me think a little, but I feel like I've always been solid to UCLA.
"When a team has the kind of injuries that UCLA has had, it's hard to stay consistent," he said. "Quarterback is like the captain of the ship and it seemed liked UCLA had different leadership every week. You can't really win that way."
He says that even his official visit to Arizona State (Oct. 27) did nothing but reaffirm his commitment to the Bruins. "It was a real cool trip," he said. "They showed me a great time and I had fun. I really liked the environment a lot and I just felt like I needed something to compare UCLA to and Arizona State was recruiting me a lot. It was cool, but I never felt like I was gonna go there instead. It was just in case."
Hester says he also has offers from Oregon, Oregon State, Washington, Washington State, California, Purdue, Miami, Boise State, Arizona and a few others.
So who does Hester hope will be the next UCLA head coach? "Well, I've been talking to coach DeWayne Walker a lot and he says he's auditioning for the head coaching job," Hester said. "That would be cool if he got it. I also heard that they are also looking at (Boise State head coach) Chris Petersen and (former Detroit Lions and San Francisco 49ers coach) Steve Mariucci. Those are the main names I've heard."
Hester helped lead his team to a 10-3 final record. He finished his senior year with over 40 tackles, one interception for a touchdown, one fumble recovery for a touchdown and around 14 pass deflections. Offensively, he had 10 receptions for about 300 yards and two touchdowns.
"I have a good football IQ," he said. "And I'm very physical. I have good speed too. There's always room for improvement. I could always get faster and quicker."
Hester reports a 3.0 core GPA and took the SAT on Dec. 1.