Hearns 80-90 percent committed, will visit Ohio State


Tallahassee Lincoln linebacker and Florida commit James Hearns was in Gainesville on Friday for his team’s matchup against Buchholz.

The Trojans took home a 45-7 victory and UF linebackers coach D.J. Durkin was on hand to watch Hearns in action.

“It felt real good to have him come,” he said. “That’s my future coach, so it was good for him to see how I’m playing after my knee surgery.”

In three quarters of play, Hearns had six tackles and a career-high two interceptions, one of which he returned for a 48-yard touchdown. He also had pick on the first play of the game, but it was negated by a penalty.

After the win, Hearns revealed he’s between 80 and 90 percent committed to Florida and being pursued Ohio State. The Buckeyes have been recruiting him since Urban Meyer hired fullbacks and tight ends coach Tim Hinton away from Notre Dame in January.

“Coach Hinton was recruiting me at Notre Dame, so when coach Meyer took a job at Ohio State, he got hired at Ohio State,” Hearns said. “So they kind of started recruiting me. I committed kind of early, so I just want to see what schools have to say and see the opportunities that are out there.”

Ohio State is the only alternative option Hearns is looking at right now and he plans to visit Columbus twice this year.

“We haven’t set any dates yet,” he said. “I’m trying to do an unofficial for the Michigan game, and then maybe an official after the season once they get a chance to be more focused on the campus.”

The 6-foot-3, 227-pounder said he isn’t seriously looking at the Buckeyes and can’t see himself switching schools.

“It’s not something I want to do,” Hearns said. “But you’ve got to think about your future and what’s going to be the best place for you. It would take a lot to make me decommit. I mean it would take a lot.

“At the same time, that door isn’t all the way shut. But I am still committed to the University of Florida and I have made them aware that I will be taking a visit to Ohio Sate.”

Their reaction?

“They said they don’t have a problem with it,” Hearns said. “They understand you only get this chance once, so just make the best of it and just see what’s out there. But they just wanted me to know that they’ve been with me through thick and thin, and that is what sets them apart from everybody else.”

Hearns made it clear that his Ohio State interest isn’t an indictment against the Gators.

“They haven’t done anything wrong,” he said. “It’s a great school and I got a great chance to come in and play. I’m still a solid commit.”


  1. Having a son go through the process, I will say, someone doesn’t do an unofficial and an official unless there is significant interest. I hope he recognizes the commitment UF had to him in the difficult times when others didn’t and he stands by his commitment. I’ll never understand why kids commit and then still do other visits. If you want to have all the fun on multiple trips and are not 100%, don’t commit and do the trips. Otherwise BE what you say you are…… COMMITTED.
    In this case, with it being OSU / UM…a little sensitive for many UF fans, including this one.

  2. I agree with you Mark, it always seems “OK” for them to go “look” but as soon as let’s say the Gators start “looking” at other options, these kids get all bent out of shape & start decomitting. Don’t let ur feelings get hurt then son when they look at “options” as well. Go Gators!

  3. He sounds smart, to me. He should take some visits so he’ll have the information he needs to make an informed decision. He appears to understand the importance of the situation and he isn’t doing anything that we wouldn’t do if we weren’t under contract and multiple ’employers’ were pursuing us.
    Go Gators!

  4. Criticizing this kid for making a visit to another school is taking things a little too far. He needs to look at other options to ensure that he is making the best decision. The coaches were aware of his interest in other places and they accepted his commitment. If they had a problem with it, I am quiet sure they wouldn’t have accepted. He sounds like a level-headed young man and after weighing his options, he will be totally convinced that he made the right decision, when he committed. He’s a Gator and will be in Orange and Blue, next year. I can’t wait to see him delivering pain, in the Swamp!

  5. I really dont care if the guy takes other visits or not but UF really needs to start recruiting smarter players. For example, ones who know the meaning of the word commitment. If you are “80 or 90% committed” then you are zero % committed.

  6. ga gator, I’m sure they have known for some time that Meyer was after this kid and that he is showing some interest in the rust belt-osu. They’d be stupid to not keep recruiting knowing that this or one of the other LB’s could de-commit and leave them short handed. It’s a fine line these coaches have to walk…

  7. Everybody’s options are open until NSD, but if you want to KEEP your options DON’T make a commitment. Exploring your options is your peroggative, but don’t try and tie up my line and you have all the options. That is the reason coaches seek their options as well, so the kids should not be offended when coaches continue players of their same position especially when you tell me you are 80 – 90% COMMITTED. GREAT WIN GATORS, we should now have to look and see what players we are going to have to turn away for next year. This is why I said on thursday that WALKER and Tunsil Will have to Fish or Be BAIT (GATOR BAIT) if they are not GATORS by next weekend. GO GATORS!!!!

  8. I have no issue with him taking his visits, but Doug if I get a good offer from an employeer that I really want to work for doing a job I really want to do I take it and never look back.

    School for school I don’t see OSU as much different, location is an advantage for UF for southern folks. Coaching staffs, facilities etc no real difference unless you have a personal relationship with the Head coach and even then they do change.

    So if I was an athlete UF would be number one and done for me.

  9. hey Tunsil, Demarcus Walker. Hop on boaerd the Gator fregiht train.

    Walker take a closer at Bryant Young’s super bowl ringg. Take a closer look at the Gators.

    I know you guys seem to want to get away, not play so close to hoome BUT the grass is not always greener over there. Come join the Gators and win yourself a ring or two!

  10. Hey Anzalone, get down here and you can stomp the U in person next year for the Gators. Come compete against the best in the SEC.

    Marquez ou can see we need you here. Come to the swamp, team up with Driskel (he was THE #1 QB in country out of high school) where you can be a REAL difference and right away!

    Demarcus Robinson get down here. Take the SEC challenge, get a chance to whip the leg humping bulldoggies every year in Jacksonville in one of the most storied rivalry games in all of college football. Gators can help you get from from Peach County to Atlanta for the SEC Chamionship game!

    Montravius same deal let the Gator express help you travel from DOOLy County to Atlanta and beyond.

    Roderick (you know who you are) Johnson. Jump on the Gator freight train. Lets go!

    Marcell Harris, you see what this coaching staff has done for Matt Elam. He’s gonna leave early for the NFL and huge $$$s. Your turn next. Get in here and lets make it happen. Let your dreams come true right here in Gainesville. Rock the SWAMP like Matt did today and step up to early entry to the league> This coaching will get you there.

    Tunsil don’t you want frineds and family to come to Jacksonville to watch you WIN every year? Believe me its better than hanging out with the Gawga ball lickers and losing to the Gators. Its gonna suck big time when you go home and your Gator Hater high School coaches say its OK Laremy you played well in the loss, wait til next year and the leg hummpers will win. AND your frineds and neighbors cant decide if they should be laughing at your decision to join the ass sniffers or feel sorry for you. Tunsil, hop on board. This train (freight train) is leaving the station soon.

  11. Zach you are the new KING of Gator Sports. Keep the recruiting news coming and keep the great Gator articles coming as well. Looks like you have to pull double duty and excel at both because of the weak team around you.

    Thanks again Zach. You are doing great work. I gotta give you props. Doing all you do in your personal life and double duty for us. You are a rising star.

  12. Please don’t leave us for ESPN or any other poser sports job Zach. Keep them coming. dude. If Hearns did want to jump into pads for UF today and say line me up Coach, I can’t help you dude. Harris UT D lost. UF D Shut out. Who you want to be with bra? UF is Dynasty. Building Greatness with players everyone counted out. Coaching and hard work earning your time to play. Go Gilli Go. Go Gators!!! FSU sucks as we all knew again. Ira Denson, T. Brown, Tunsil, Etc… where you want to be homey? Gator Nation Strong!

  13. EDDIE, you rivals always amuse me. You get on our boards, pose as a Gator fan, and then insult our potential future players in the hopes that they’ll take offense to you and go elsewhere. Are you THAT afraid of UF?

    How would you like someone doing what you do and trashing your kid on the internet? At least be a man and post under the team alias you really support instead og this gutless, cowardly behavior.

  14. I have no problem with a kid taking visits, but he should understand that if he starts looking around, there should also be no problem with the Gators looking at other options. Really, if a guy is going to start looking around, I would rather have him be forthright about it, and let the staff know now so that they can start considering alternatives. As long as it’s a two-way street, that’s fine.