Gator Commitment Likes His Trip to Auburn

Linebacker James Hearns from Tallahassee talks about his weekend checking out Gus Malzahn's Auburn Tigers.

Tallahassee, Fla.--Lincoln High linebacker James Hearns, a long-time Florida commitment, is still growing physically and after a weekend in Auburn he says that his interest in the Tigers is growing, too.

"The visit went great and I loved it," he said. "Auburn is a football town and that is somewhere you want to be. Everybody kind of focuses on Auburn football.

"After talking with Coach Gus (head coach Gus Malzahn) I am very interested in Auburn," he said. "They definitely have a need for linebackers, especially a linebacker of my size who would fit into their defense perfectly."

Hearns said he measured in at six-foot-four, 230 pounds on his visit. He noted that he is still growing taller while at the same time he has dropped weight. "Last year I was at 245 pounds," he said.

A four-year starter at Lincoln High School, he played outside linebacker as a freshman and a sophomore and played inside linebacker as a junior and senior. "I have played in a lot of different alignments and I have even played the rover position, which is like a safety, that Auburn is using," he pointed out.

While saying he is still committed to the Gators, the prospect noted he has yet to make a final decision on his college choice. He plans to take an official visit to Kentucky next week and to Florida the following week.

"I am still committed, but I am going to talk to my mom and she how she feels about that," Hearns said. "We have already spoken about it some. It is early so I don't want to give away too many details too soon."

James Hearns is shown during a Lincoln High game.

Asked what the best part of his game is as a linebacker, Hearns said, "Probably my football IQ. I can recognize plays. Also my physicality is one of my strengths. I am a very downhill player, which is why I am choosing to play in the SEC, which is a very physical league."

Hearns noted that his coaches counted on him to call plays in the defensive huddle and make checks at the line of scrimmage to adjust to offensive formations.

The linebacker made his official visit with his teammate, Taj Williams, a highly-regarded wide receiver. "We aren't just teammates, we are like brothers," Hearns said. "My mom calls him her my son. She is always at my house. We have a real special bond. We are like best friends." He added that the two are interested in playing with each other in college.

On his official visit to Auburn the linebacker said he liked the people he met, including people in the school of business, which is his area of interest for college studies.

His player host was T.J. Davis, who played at Godby High in Tallahassee. "He did a real good job," Hearns pointed out. "We knew each other from back home, but we never really hung out. Even though we went to different schools we actually had a lot in common."

Auburn wide receiver coach Dameyune Craig is recruiting the linebacker for the Tigers. Even though Craig just recently made the move to Auburn from Florida State, Hearns points out that the new Auburn coach just began recruiting him for Auburn. "I had probably seen him before, but I was actually more familiar with the defensive coaches," Hearns said.

Asked what Auburn's chances are of signing him, he said, "You will have to stay tuned for that one, but I will say they have got a really good shot, especially with them having three linebacker decommitments. I am going to stay in touch and follow up with them."

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