Did You Know Devin Hester Wanted to Play for Pete Carroll’s USC Trojans?

Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Today, Devin Hester is recognized as one of, if not the greatest return specialists in NFL history. After finishing his 11-year-pro career, Hester was enshrined into Canton’s Pro Football Hall of Fame, and his 19 touchdowns as a returner are the biggest reason why.

But did you know Hester, who played college football for the Miami Hurricanes, wanted to play for coach Pete Carroll’s USC Trojans instead? It’s true.

Here’s the exchange between Hester and Carroll, as captured by NFL Films cameras.

“Hester: Ay, Pete, you know what I always wanted to ask you?”

“Carroll: What was that?”

“Hester: Why you never recruited me (to USC) coming out of high school?”

“Carroll: I don’t know. How’d we miss it? I don’t know. We ever even get started on it? I can’t remember.”

“Hester: Never. I never got a call or letter from y’all.”

“Carroll: We never really blanketed everywhere. So we would miss guys. We’d get onto something and we’d stay with it if it was working.”

“Hester: I wonder how y’all missed me though. I was the number two corner in the nation. And we played the Florida-Cali…”

“Carroll: What was your high school?”

“Hester: South Coast High School. In Revere Beach, Florida”

“Carroll: Yeah, we never got anybody from out there.”

“Hester: I was the number two corner. We played in the Cali-Florida All-Star Game. I won MVP of the game and everything. I should have got my letter from that game.”

Devin Hester and Pete Carroll discussing their mutual interest

As Hester mentioned, he was the second-ranked cornerback in the nation. Yet, Miami had him playing wide receiver instead. It didn’t matter, with Hester’s world-class speed, he could play any skill position he wanted, and at USC, we’d imagine he could have been an even bigger star.

Oh well, Hester still became the 57th overall pick in the 2006 NFL Draft, and the rest is history. Now he has a gold jacket and a bronze bust sitting in Canton, and Coach Carroll still did pretty well too. Still, we can’t help but wonder what it would have been like seeing Hester carve up his opponent in a Trojans uniform.

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