Aaron Hester, a cornerback from UCLA, has never met his famous cousin, Bears kick returner Devin Hester. But he'd love to. And he'd also like to cover and tackle him.
"I can probably guard him," a laughing Aaron Hester told the Sun-Times. "Yeah, I can guard him."
Hester may get his chance soon enough. Hester, a 6-2, 198-pound corner, said teams are telling him he can go in "the middle rounds" in this year's draft. He's had a private workout with the Jacksonville Jaguars and has heard from the New York Giants, Washington Redskins, Minnesota Vikings, Houston Texans and others.
"There's a pretty good number of teams, but I'm just waiting until I hear my name called," said Hester, who participated in the NFL combine and had a solid pro day. "I'm just chilling and relaxing with family. I'm not throwing a big party or anything. I might have something after I get drafted. But right now, the plan is just to chill and hope for the best."
This is considered a very deep class for cornerbacks with Alabama's Dee Milliner and Florida State's Xavier Rhodes at the top of most rankings. Bears general manager Phil Emery has lauded this year's depth at corner more than once. The Bears could use a young corner behind Tim Jennings and Charles Tillman, who are both in the final years of their contracts.
"I feel like I'm just as good as any corner in this draft class," Hester said. "People might be rated higher and stuff like that. But I feel like when I actually get to the NFL I can be in the upper echelon of corners in this class, even though I might not get drafted as high as some of the corners in this draft. But it's not about how high you get drafted. It's about what you do when you get there. People get drafted high and only get one contract in the league. That's not my plan. I want to have longevity. I think I have the size, the tools and everything to play a long time."
One advantage Hester has over other corners is that he's had the chance to work with two of best corners currently in the NFL -- Richard Sherman and Darrelle Revis. Hester was a high school teammate of Sherman's in California.
"I feel like this year he was the best corner in football," Hester said. "[Sherman] had one of the best seasons I've ever seen from a corner. I look up to him. We text back and forth and talk on the phone and everything. We play the same exact press technique at the line of scrimmage. It's effective for him in the NFL, so I'm going to try to master that press technique.
"Press coverage is my forte, but I can play anything. It's just mastering my skills, and getting good at what I'm good at. People always say to work on your weakness, but [Sherman] told me, 'Why don't you just master your strengths?' That kind of stuck with me."
Hester had a chance to work with Revis in Arizona, while Revis was rehabilitating a torn ACL. He also had some different advice for Hester, telling him not too focus too much on "basic drills."
"[Revis] said think about how many times in the game that you are really doing something that standard," Hester said. "He told me to work on getting myself out of bad positions. So I'll back pedal, turn and reverse flip and then back pedal, turn and then inside flip. I'm just doing stuff to get my change of direction better and to get myself out of bad positions and allow myself to make plays on the ball in the NFL. Because these receivers are good, they can get you going one way, but it's about how you recover and the end result of the play."
Hester, a three-year starter at UCLA with five career interceptions, doesn't have any character concerns.
"I don't have any problems with authority or getting coached up or anything like that," he said. "I'm a good guy. I go hard. I go hard for my team. My motivation comes from within. I try to go hard every single day."
As for his more famous cousin, Hester has nothing but praise.
"It's pretty cool [to be Devin Hester's cousin]," Aaron Hester said. "I want to meet the guy real bad. I'm anxious to meet him, chop it up with him, see what he's like and everything like that.
"But he's an awesome player, one of the most dynamic players that we've ever seen in this football league. Definitely, he's the greatest returner and definitely in the top 5 of the most dynamic players ever."
Hester, though, wants to make his own name in the NFL.
"Hopefully, I'll be on the field playing with him," he said. "I feel like my best football is ahead of me."