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.”
“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.”