If you follow James Hearns on twitter, you probably saw @JamesHearns21 on your timeline a lot Saturday.
The UF linebacker commit was competing in a 7-0n-7 tournament at Florida State with his Tallahassee Lincoln team and got ejected for doing the Gator chomp.
Hearns said the chomp was in response to a quarterback that was upset about his pass being picked off.
“I was running back an interception and the quarterback tagged me out of bounds,” Hearns recalled. “Then I was just walking back to my side and he comes up in my face and says, ‘You suck, you suck.’ I didn’t really react too much to it. I just threw the chomp at him once and walked off. Then the ref threw the flag and they kicked me out of camp.”
Hearns had already experienced problems earlier in the tournament.
“They had ejected me previously from the second game for being too physical,” he said. “They told me I tagged a player too hard. Come on man, it’s football.”
Though many assumed FSU coach Jimbo Fisher or one of his assistants tossed Hearns, he said it was a member of the Florida State staff.
“The actual coaching staff didn’t throw me out of the camp, it was some guy who works for FSU,” Hearns revealed. “The coaches were actually watching the game when it happened and didn’t do anything. He just kicked me out himself.”
Hearns has no issues with the FSU coaches — even after what went down.
“It had nothing to do with them,” he said. “They’re good people. I actually talked to coach [Mark] Stoops while I was at the camp and he congratulated me on being committed to Florida. So I don’t have any problem with them.”
Does Hearns have any beef with the Seminole faithful?
“Yes, definitely,” he said. “As far as the fans and people around the program, it kind of turned their stomach a little bit that they let a local get out of Tallahassee. But they hype it up and say, ‘FSU didn’t want you.’ I know they did, but you know fans always give their opinion.”
They did so more than ever Saturday, as he heard from dozens of fans on twitter about his Gator chomp. Florida State offensive lineman Daniel Glauser even weighed in, tweeting to Hearns, “have fun loosing in doak this year.”
And yes, he spelled losing wrong.
“It caught me off guard,” Hearns said of Glauser’s response. “You’re a senior in college and you’re entertaining a junior in high school? Get out of here. He was talking about how he would get at me on the field and told me to have fun losing in Doak [Campbell Stadium] next year. I won’t even be graduated yet. So I really laughed at him. It didn’t bother me at all.”
Many Florida commits and fans took to twitter to defend Hearns, while the FSU fanbase (and more current players) continued to attack him.
“To be honest, I never thought it would blow up when I tweeted that,” Hearns said. “I was just tweeting what was going on with me. It wasn’t a big deal to me. It just got blown out of proportion. But FSU fans can hop on it and get whatever they want from it. At the end of the day, I’m going to a great college in the University of Florida and that’s all that really matters to me.”
Will Hearns remember this fiasco when faces Florida State as freshman?
“Oh yeah,” he said. “When the time comes for me to play FSU, it’s something that I’m going to think about. I’ll use it as even more motivation than I already have.”