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Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
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Break out: Jessie Hester, wide receiver
By Greg Auman
Published August 31, 2007
BIGGER AND BETTER: Jessie Hester played sparingly as a freshman in 2005, totaling three catches for 37 yards, then opted to redshirt last season so he could put on more weight. He's up to 6 feet, 170 pounds. Despite missing much of his final two years of high school with thigh and leg injuries, he was recruited by schools such as Florida, Georgia, Iowa and Ohio State.
THE NAME IS THE SAME: Hester's father, Jessie Sr., was a 5-11, 175-pound receiver at Florida State and a first-round draft pick of the Raiders in 1985. In 11 seasons in the NFL, he totaled 373 receptions, including 29 for touchdowns. He was drafted by the USFL's Tampa Bay Bandits in 1985, but never played for them.
STEPPING IN: When fellow sophomore Colby Erskin tore a knee ligament in the first week of practice, coaches identified Hester as the player in the best position to step into Erskin's role as a fourth starting receiver.
"Jessie's been the biggest surprise," receivers coach Mike Canales said. "He's got great ability. He's going to be a guy who plays in our four-wide. He's going to replace Erskin, and he's ready for the task. He's stepped up. The opportunity presented itself and he's not going to let it go."