Remembering Aaron Hernandez in High School

We hit the archives to take a look at this piece from our own John Pierson back in 2006:

The voices came from all directions.

Everyone, it seemed, wanted the best for Aaron Hernandez.

“Half your family is telling you to go here, half your family is telling you to go here. Half my family is telling me to go to Notre Dame, Michigan, Miami, and my head is just going crazy,” Hernandez said.

For a kid barely old enough to drive, it came down to one opinion.


UConn was his first choice, before reversing field, and settling on Florida.

He thinks he’s 100 percent sure.

“Maybe 99.9,” he says. “There’s a crack.”

Connecticut still wants Hernandez. Especially one Husky—his brother DJ, who is UConn’s starting quarterback.

“At first he wouldn’t even talk to me,” Aaron said. “But there’s days he’s like, it’s our dream to play together. Come on, please!”

Without his brother, Aaron says he wouldn’t be in this position. He was a self-described “lazy big body,” until his older brother got a hold of him.

“He’s very hard on me,” Aaron said. “We worked all summer, and if I dropped a ball it was 100 pushups. Sometimes he stands 10 yards away and chucks it as hard as he can and I have to catch it. It used to hit me in the face, but now I’m pretty good at it.”

So good, he’s the number 1 rated high school tight end in the country.

His newfound success came at a loss though.

His father died earlier this year.

“It pushed me, gave me a drive,” he said. “I wasn’t the number 1 tight end in the country when he passed away. I started to work harder because of him and it happened.”

“I talk to him. I hear him sometimes,” Hernandez said.

And his dad’s words ring loud and clear.

“Good job! You stink! What are you doing? Start blocking! Good catch! Every once in a while he says something funny,” Hernandez recalled. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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