Hearns addresses his academics, recruitment


Tallahassee Lincoln linebacker James Hearns originally planned to visit Florida over the weekend, but last week he pushed back his official to Feb. 1.

Instead, the UF commit took a surprise trip to Auburn with teammate Taj Williams.

“It was good, the tradition stuck out to me,” Hearns said. “I’ve been recruited by Auburn since my sophomore year, so I decided to go when my schedule opened up. They were just telling me how they need linebackers in this class.”

Auburn currently has just one prospect pledged at the position, whereas the Gators have five verbals including Hearns as a middle LB.

The four-star prospect was 80-90 percent committed to Florida back in early October, but he told The Sun he was “150-percent” solid on Jan. 7. At that time, his official visit to Ohio State had just been called off by the Buckeyes because they landed two inside linebackers.

The Gators, however, added Alex Anzalone three days later, and that has apparently caused Hearns to look around again.

“I’m 80 percent right now,” he said. “I’m still committed to Florida, but they’re getting full at linebacker. I don’t really want to comment on it or give too much details away about that. Coach (D.J.) Durkin knows everything, we’ve talked about it and we have a plan in place.”

Part of that plan includes getting his academics in order. Hearns revealed he still needs to improve his grades and test scores.

“They’re not the best,” he said, “but I’m not far off from qualifying. I take the ACT again on Feb. 9 and I’m finishing up a couple online classes right now. So once that gets squared away I’ll be cleared by the NCAA.”

This weekend Hearns officially visits Kentucky, where he will reunite with a familiar face.

“Coach (Mark) Stoops is the head coach there now and he’s a real good guy,” Hearns said. “He’s been recruiting me since he was at Florida State, so I’ve known him for awhile and I can’t wait to hear what he has to say.”

Despite back-to-back trips to other SEC schools, Hearns said it won’t be easy for them to flip him.

“It’s going to take a lot for me to decommit from Florida, and they’ve known all along that I wanted to take visits,” Hearns said. “I talk with them before and after every trip and there’s no secrets. I’m just seeing what these other schools have to offer.”


  1. Hope he gets his grades and test scores in order. Can’t blame him for visiting…they all should IMO. In his case, if he doesn’t qualify, visiting other programs affords him insight into other available options. I like him and am pulling for him to man our middle in the near future. If the grades are there, I would dare to assume he’s a Gator come NSD.

  2. Good idea for him to see what his options are. As we all know, qualifying academically for the NCAA and getting into UF are two completely different things (even for athletes). Wise for him to have a backup plan.

  3. These kids crack me up. Let’s fast forward 3 to 5 years with this young man and role play at an NFL interview:

    -NFL GM: So son, how do feel about competing at the next level?
    -Prospect (Hearns): Um, well, I don’t do classrooms and learning and stuff and I don’t want too many guys in camp at my position. But I can twitter real good!

    Do these kids realize how foolish they sound when they express stuff like that?

  4. @JMD. I understand. I shouldn’t have used Hearns in my example above. My knock is on the ‘kids’ in general who have the attitude of path-of-least-resistance when it comes to getting playing time.

    I, just like you, applaud his transparency. Maybe the attitude described above is fomented by the parents, coaches or mentors advising him. What ever the case may be, I still flinch when I hear about a kid choosing to go somewhere because he doesn’t have to compete very hard to get on the field.

    • Don,
      Saying Florida ONLY recruits athletes with dreads and gold teeth is just ignorant and wrong. Of Florida’s 27 commits in the 2013 class, ZERO have gold teeth and ONE has dreadlocks in Marcell Harris. And having spent time around him on multiple occasions, he is not the “type” of athlete you speak of. And for you to suggest he is simply because of his hairstyle is an extremely prejudice statment. Moreover, UF has several commits in this class who have a GPA above 4.0 as well as six recruits who graduated from high school six months early. You’re way off base with your comments.

  5. Hearns is obviously having grade problems. The guy wants to be a Gator but he might not get in. Cut him some slack. He has pride so he can’t just say I’m only at Auburn/UK because I couldn’t get in to UF. if that happens other excuses will be offered. I hope he makes it in.

  6. Don, I’ll spare you the racist comments but I’ll say this, “You’re an idiot!” Take a look at this upcoming class. There are MANY good looking, intelligent and well spoken young men that have pledged to be Gators. You won’t see and SEC team without some of what you described.
    If you don’t like it, can’t look past it or can’t appreciate the NUMBER of quality, well spoken young men Champ is recruiting then go root for Army or Navy. I’ve always respected the caliber of young men these proud institutions have. Of course, they won’t be competing for any championships this century either. OR, you could stop being such a dumb_ _ _ jerk.

  7. The team I saw in the SB was a frustrated, under-prepared team that let their emotions get the best of them.

    Ironically, much of that (Gator) team was recruited by the coach on the other sideline.

    Don, if what you are saying is true, then the poor display wouldn’t be isolated to the SB, but would’ve manifest itself in the 12 other games as well. I can’t say that I saw the same thing in those previous 12 games.

  8. BTW, I agree with Don as didn’t Florida have the most penalities as a team last year? We never have any composure and Muschamp had ZERO control of his team in the SB and most of the season as far as penalities

  9. So Don, what would that one type of athlete that we recruit be? Although I’m not sure your comment is racist, it does appear to be pretty ignorant. Take a look at the recruits coming in and you’ll see that your FACTS appear to be fairly INACCURATE!

  10. His Coach, Jacquez Green, will make sure Hearns gets the grades and the test scores to qualify. Lincoln High is a top-flight program that makes sure their kids make the grades to play at the next level. I’m hoping he sticks with Florida but I wish him luck wherever he ends up.

  11. Of course Don’s is a racist remark, and I suspect that he’s proudly aware of it or he wouldn’t have thrown out a defense right in the middle of the post. He is obviously ignorant in the subject he chooses to speak on, as most racists are, and deep down his anger is directed at his own lack of education and personal success, so he lashes out at others. He probably likes it when the Gators wear those ridiculous orange britches, too. ’nuff said.

  12. Don is definitely an idiot…I just hope that the young men that read all of these posts aren’t as narrow minded and dumb as he is…I’m a black man and I’m not fond of the dred head look but if that’s what the young man chooses to wear then let him…Lord knows I had my share of crazy hair styles in my youth but let them be young & adventurous…stop judging a book by it’s cover & judge them by their character…and as for the orange pants-they’re fine as long as they wear them w/ the white jerseys…I personally think they should look into changing the helmet from orange to blue…whaddayathink?!?! GO GATORS!!

  13. I’ll give Don the benefit of the doubt and assume he’s referencing the fact that big money sport athletes are (at times) out of step with the admissions, conduct, and graduation requirements/expectations of the rest of the student population.

    I don’t believe we can litigate that topic on this blog nor should we. All told there are far more high character kids on that team than aren’t.

  14. Good call by you Gatorade7! Don, really? “dreds and gold teeth.” Listen, its difficult to do this over the Internet but if you’ll find a male doll, and when you’re ready, do your best to described where ‘He’ touched you, maybe we can help.

  15. Can’t agree with you on the orange pants Baton Rouge Gator Fan. I could be swayed towards a blue helmet, but those pants, man, I just can’t deal with ’em. I thought they looked clownish in the Sugar Bowl. They wore them when they got steamrolled by Nebraska in the Fiesta Bowl and, I think, I’m not sure, but I THINK they were wearing them when Lindsay Scott broke my heart way back in the day. Plus, Miami wears orange pants. Isn’t that reason enough for UF not to?
    I really liked the throwbacks they wore against Alabama in, what was it, ’06? Whatever. Those pants have got to go…
    Gators. Win or lose.

  16. Don, Don, Don tell them your not racist…You just don’t like Black people.
    If you were attempting to say hard ass hitting, playing every second when your on the field kids then yea we have to have them if you want to compete.
    If only we could get some white guys with dreads and gold teeth then you wouldn’t be so mad?

  17. So with Quinton Powell down to USC and UF, would a recommitment from him almost certainly push Hearns to decommit? 6 linebackers in one class is almost unheard of and I really like Hearns at the Mike spot. I feel all of our linebacker commits are versatile and all have something different to bring to the position and could allow the defense to play more 3-4. Also, with USC letting go of their DB coach UF’s chances with Ramsey probably grew even greater. Kid is big and physical and can even play WR. Would be a huge addition.

  18. Think FSU would lead for Ramsey right now GaGator2. Praying for you Mr. Hearns. Hope you get your shot here at UF and make the grades. Felt real bad about O. Phillips last year not making it in the class. God be with them all.

  19. Maybe grades are the primary reason he seems to be wavering. We have 5 LB’s committed but he would be in the lead for a Mike position for sure.

    Auburn is years away from being a contender and KY is KY! He can go wherever he wants pending academic acceptance, but UF is his best choice if he gets cleared.

  20. Well said Doug-you’ve now convinced me that the orange pants MUST go (HAHA)!! Zach-way to put that ignoramus to bed…now on to better things than to trash out recruits by making blanket statements. I was like you-these are some of the most intelligent guys I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know…these are cerebral guys that know what they want & all seem like team, program type guys that will work hard to be the best Gators that they can be…looking forward to these guys being the best men they can be as well!! Go Gators!!

  21. Right now we’re short of MLBs, and the ones we have (M. Taylor, A. Morrison and D. Kitchens) are relatively small (avg. 6ft 220lbs). I am wondering if R. Powell will be used to help out inside in order to get our best 11 defenders on the field. We’re stacked at OLB so I don’t see a need for Q. Powell despite his talent. I’d keep an eye on MLB targets even when/if J. Hearns qualifies. Zach, are you hearing of any under consideration?

  22. Zach,
    I usually live to hear Dumb A…. like Doug and the SIMPLE MINDED BULLS…. that he has spilled out of his nose, BUT you have done such a GREAT job putting him and his #@$%&*(##$ in his place I won’t attempt to follow up. THANKS, some people are just ignorant and you really can’t do anything about them. Thats how they see PEOPLE and culture, if its not like theirs its something wrong with it or it is NEGATIVE. I would use a phrase like “WAKE UP” but people like that are not asleep they are DEAD. GO GATORS!!!!

  23. Sorry man, I don’t know why I’ve been unusually bitter on this blog lately! I feel like I’m turning into EMK. Just still hung over from that disappointment against Louisville I guess. Looking forward to holding this class together and hopefully adding a few more top notch recruits to get us jonesing even more for next year. My apologies and lots of love to all Gator fans out there! GO GATORS!!!

  24. Zach, I see you’ve got a story coming out around noon today. Any chance you can discuss Q. Powell’s situation (I saw he was down to UF & USC)? Does L. Williams going to USC last year hurt the Gators in this battle?

  25. I’m not buying that Hearns is concerned about 5 LB’s in this class, early playing time at Auburn or the recent addition of Anzalone either. He is the only true ILB in our current class while Anzalone is a very good athlete who could play TE/H-back on offense or OLB on defense, which is what he was recruited to play, he is not considered a true ILB propect at this point. Plus the fact with Bostic gone, Hearns has a shot to be our next Mike LB pretty quickly.

    All of this leads me to believe it is all about his grades otherwise OSU would not have cancelled his visit after picking up 2 LB recently. If he does qualify, I believe that he will be in this class in my opinion.

  26. I think Muschamp should just let him go. he doesnt have the grades yet and I dont think we can wait and see if he makes it.

    We got bet by Louisville. that is terrible. Louisville lost to UCONN and they cheated to get their players through known money man Clint Hurtt. We have to do better and win the SEC next year.

  27. My son is James’ teammate at Lincoln and I can tell you first-hand that James is a solid person and the kind of kid anyone would be proud to see representing their team and school. James’ mother is a wonderful person who has done a great job raising James (and his brother, Travis, who also plays for Lincoln).
    As for Don,it’s obvious he’s not a Gator. He came in here to instigate and to make a racist comment that would put a false light on Gator fans in general.

  28. Sorry Doug, I meant DON in my post. it makes me and others so mad at the stupidity of some post I didn’t write the correct name. Easy mistake to make when your’e reading such garbage. I am truly sorry for the mistake. GO GATORS!!!!