Kennesaw Mountain’s Justin Ested has kicked off his senior year making a lot of noise on the field. What originally started as preseason All-State buzz back in August has now turned into an audible roar with the class of 2022 edge-rusher making his case as one of the top uncommitted seniors still available.
Ested has certainly has proven his point, and last Friday, against Sprayberry, he showed how his hard work over the last year has translated over to on-field success. Sprayberry was driving down the field but was promptly stopped by the senior edge-defender as he perfectly read the play right at the snap, intercepted a short pass that he returned about 80 yards, earning him the #1 spot in the Recruit Georgia Top 10.
Ested believes that play is a result of all his preparation and diligence in looking at the finer details.
“I’ve improved most in being able to watch film and see it play out on the field. Studying your opponents is always a ‘to-do’ list. It has to be done. My interception in my last game where I took it back 80 yards was not an accident. I watched that play a thousand times on film, and because I studied my opponents, I know what’s about to happen, before it happens.” Ested continued, “You got to prepare for war. Simple things like if the QB is left or right-handed. How wide is the running back lining up when it’s stretched. Simple things can make the game 10x easier.”
On the recruiting front, Ested options are looking peachy with FBS programs jumping into the picture.
“My recruitment is good and the crazy part about it is that I’m just getting started.” He continued, “Within the last 2 weeks, I’ve been offered by Georgia Tech, Tennessee at Martin, and schools that have reached out are LSU, Arkansas State, Houston, Tulane, and UCF.”
That’s certainly an uptick for Ested who held a handful of D1 offers with Marshall being the most prominent prior to the season. As mentioned, he was offered by Georgia Tech over the weekend after attending their game against Kennesaw State. Currently, Ested has no other visits in the works, but said he “was just a phone call away.”
We are definitely bullish on Ested, and just last week we tweeted out his profile stating he was the top uncommitted pass-rusher still remaining in the state. What stands out the most with Ested is the strong base of fundamentals the class of 2022 defender already possesses. He has quick hands at the point of attack and demonstrates a flurry of pass-rush moves. Above all else, Ested has immense confidence and that just exudes with every answer we got from the senior.
“The one special thing that will always stick out to offensive coaches is they are going to have to double team me every play. There is not 1 person who can block me. I will dominate 1 on 1’s every time, and even if you double me, I’m going to find a way. 56 can’t be stopped! You might be faster than me, but I’m stronger, you might be stronger than me, but I’m faster. Hey, you can even be both faster and stronger, but you will never be smarter.”
Ested views himself as an ultra-versatile defensive lineman who lineup multiple techniques. His impact on the field is certainly varied, but his intensity to come off the edge replicates the top athlete he models his game after.
“The reason why I play this game is because of ‘LT’ – Lawrence Taylor. Coming from New York, being a Giants fan, and seeing that man change the game, is something that amazed me. Watching the fear he puts into people, how he hits the QB and how aggressive he was chasing the play down from the backside and still making plays. How he could never be stopped is what made me want to play the game,” he said.
That does explain why Lawrence Taylor has been his Twitter profile picture since we have been following the class of ’22 prospect. Ested is still fairly new to the game, just strapping on the pads for the first time when he was in 8th grade, but has grown to love the game, so we asked what he has enjoyed the most playing on Friday nights here in Georgia.
“My favorite part about Friday nights is knowing I got a point to prove. Knowing that my team, Kennesaw Mountain high school, made history by beating Allatoona for the 1st time in the school’s history. Then starting the season off 4-0 is huge for our program, but it isn’t enough for us, we want more. It’s not just personal to me, it’s personal to the team.. What we did so far is just memories, I want to make history by going 10-0 and hosting a playoff game. I bet everyone is going to remember the 2021 Kennesaw Mountain football team. So my favorite part about Friday nights is winning and knowing I left everything on the field.”
The Kennesaw Mountain team has certainly caught most pundits off-guard with their great start to the season, and only one media outlet had them ranked in the preseason (spoiler it was RG), but that’s starting to change over the last week. A lot can certainly happen over the next few months for Kennesaw Mountain and Ested, so be sure to follow @RecruitGeorgia on Twitter to see the latest GHSA rankings and recruiting updates on the senior.
Interested in recruiting Justin Ested – click HERE to visit his Recruit Georgia profile.