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(Jamar Hornsby profile)
NCAA rules don't allow coaches to make telephone calls or recruit in July unless they have a camp, but that rule doesn't apply to text messages on cell phones or the US Mail. Hornsby's mail box is filled with interesting literature from the many schools that desperately seek his services, but it's what happens at 7:30 that brings a smile to his face.
"I love the text messages I get from Urban Meyer every morning," said Hornsby. "I get one every single morning at 7:30 … he is like my alarm clock for work. I know it is him so I have to get up and read it. It is always something different. That is why I like Coach Meyer so much, it is always something different, not just the same ole thing."
He gets a lot of text messages from a lot of other coaches but he says "Most of them are like 'give me a call', something like that." The ones he gets from Meyer have become a daily treat because Meyer varies his message from day to day, sometimes serious, sometimes funny but always consistent. He doesn't get that from other people recruiting him.
"They [other coaches] normally say 'how you doing, you belong here, come be this, come be that, give me a call', stuff like that," he said.
Although he hasn't made a verbal commitment to Florida, Hornsby's made it known for some time that the Gators are like Secretariat making the turn at Belmont. Florida's got a big lead and everyone else is chasing.
"Florida is definitely my leader," he said. "My mom loves it and it is close to home. If I ever got into trouble or anything, she could always drive down easily. Florida used to be known as a powerhouse and with Urban Meyer there it will open up a little bit in the spread offense … it's like a five receiver offense. Like they told me, I would have a great chance of coming in and playing right away."
On June 4, Florida hosted a Junior Day of sorts where several high profile big time athletes visited the school. Not only did Florida come away with multiple commitments that weekend, there were some friendships formed that are still going strong, one in particular with Justin Williams of Folkston (GA) Charlton County.
"We have a little bit of relationship and have spent a little time talking to each other," he said. "There were a whole bunch of us at the Junior Day and we spent the whole day talking. It would be kind of fun if all of us go to the same school, but you have to look at it as how many people from that group are going for the same position that you are going for. There were two or three receivers in the group … a couple of quarterbacks like Jarred Fayson from Tampa … I keep in touch with him all the time. I talk with Jacques Rickerson from St. Augustine. Tim Tebow is my boy. I call him all the time. He is a great kid, church-going and comes from a great family and everything. He is real honest."
It seems all but done for the Gators and Hornsby, but there are still things he finds interesting about the other schools that make up his top five.
"My top five are Florida, Michigan, Georgia, Georgia Tech, and USC," he said. "Florida is the only one I have visited so far. I am definitely going back to Gainesville on the 22nd and 23rd. I might be going with Jacques Rickerson."
Michigan: "They have a little tradition with the number one jersey. They were also my first offer, they will always be on my list. I talk to Coach Loeffler a lot, he is an outgoing person."
Georgia: "I am from Georgia, so I used to like the Georgia schools. I moved down after the seventh grade. Most of my family members in Waycross were Bulldog fans. Coach Rodney Garner is one of the coaches I talk to there."
Georgia Tech: "I also have a lot of family that live in Atlanta near Georgia Tech. Coach Geiss … he is my head coach's dad."
USC: "It's out there in California. It is a great place to experience. It is also a great offense to be in. I like the quarterback coach."
One of the things that are attracting all of the major schools to Hornsby is the fact that he is a great player on either side of the ball. While attending the Sandalwood vs. Ed White game last year, I didn't even know who Hornsby was. I was there to see his teammate Maurice Wells play against White's Bryan Evans. Let's just say that Hornsby stole the show on both offense and defense. At 6-4, and 195 he is huge roaming the field from his safety position or as a large target for the quarterback. He gets it done from start to finish every game.
While wide receiver is Hornsby's first love on the football field, he's not oblivious to the thought of going both ways at the next level.
"Oh yeah, Florida, USC, and Michigan all said they want to try me out playing both ways," he said. "I am definitely interested in doing that. Charles Woodson is my favorite player because he played both receiver and defensive back."
Hornsby is a goal setter and the goal he sets for the next level of his playing career is all about getting to the last level. He sees himself playing in the NFL someday and knows what it is going to take as a player in college to get there.
"I just think about beating the person that is in front of me," he said knowing it is one step at a time. "I am trying to get to the next level after that, so I need to go 110% all the time. It's not high school where you can mess up one play. You have to go out and play every play at that level if you want to make it to the next level."
Don't look for Hornsby to finalize his decision any time soon. He is hopeful that he will be selected to the US Army All-American Game in San Antonio, a place where he would love to make his public commitment. It would probably take a season-ending injury or something catastrophic for Hornsby not to make the game which is sponsored by Scout.com.
"If I make it to the US Army all American Game, I will probably announce it there," he said. "The school will know before I announce at the game on television."
From the crack of dawn on the first day of this recruiting period, until the fax machine comes in on signing day, Jamar Hornsby will have probably worn out a few cell phones and mailmen. It won't matter. Coaches will find a way to get to him, some earlier and more creative than others.