There was a point in his recruitment where DePaul Catholic four-star safety Kiy Hester was leaning towards heading outside of New Jersey to play college football.
But recently, that feeling began to change, and the culmination of the shift occurred this afternoon when the 6-foot, 210-pound Hester gave the in-state Scarlet Knights his verbal commitment.
So what made the difference and caused him to re-evaluate this thinking about local program?
"I kind of sat back and thought about things," Hester said. "I thought that I definitely might get homesick. I'm a momma's boy. My mom raised me, so her and my family being able to see me was big. Now, if I need something, I'm not far from home. That was definitely big and also, me being able to build a relationship with the people at Rutgers."
First and foremost, Hester built strong bonds with the entire Rutgers coaching, including his primary recruiter, Dave Cohen, head coach Kyle Flood and defensive backs coach Darrell Wilson. This was crucial for him when making his decision.
"Just being around the coaches, they're always talking to me, keeping in contact with me," Hester said. "I felt comfortable. It felt like a home and like a family. They're people that are not only going to help me with playing football but they're also going to support me in everything I do."
Hester made two trips to Rutgers in the last month and at last weekend's Passing Camp, he joked that DePaul teammate and current RU commit Justin Nelson was on him every day to become a Scarlet Knight.
"It definitely played a role. He called me the day he committed and he always was trying to get me to join him," Hester said of Nelson. "Also, Davon Jacobs who is at Rutgers now, I played with him my first two years at DePaul. I've been in contact with him and when I came down here I hung out with him. I know a lot of people down here on the team."
A natural safety who is capable of playing some cornerback as well, Hester is open to lining up wherever he is needed at the next level.
"Whatever they need help with, that's the type of player I am," Hester said. "I could see myself blitzing off the edge at safety, dropping back in coverage, playing one-on-one coverage, whatever can help them win games. I'm all about winning."
Winning has been a frequent topic of discussion amongst Hester and his fellow commits even before he pulled the trigger. The entire contingent of current commits sees an opportunity to help vault the program forward.
"We definitely feel ready to go down there and compete," Hester said. "The goal is to win a Big Ten championship and a national championship."