Hornsby Eyes Starting Job

With the departure of Reggie Nelson, it was assumed that Kyle Jackson would slide right into the starting free safety spot. But redshirt freshman Jamar Hornsby says not so fast.

During Friday's UF Media Day, Jamar Hornsby took some time to talk to me about how his second year is going so far and what his goals are for the upcoming year.

Just talk about how things are going for you so far this fall.

"Things are going real well so far. I'm getting a lot more reps than I was last year. I'm really in that mix rigt now, so I'm just trying to get ready for the season."

Coach Meer has said some pretty good things about you the last couple of days. How does that make you feel?

"It makes me feel pretty good. It actually makes be work even harder, seeing coach noticing what I'm doing. It makes me work even harder."

You've had to deal with some injuries over the last couple of years. Is this the healthiest you've ever been?

"This is the healthiest I've ever been. Last year, even though I didn't play much, I kind of took it as a year to get my body right where I want it."

Coach Meyer said you're a guy that's progressing the way they want to see guys progressing. Do you feel comfortable with your progression?

"I may not be progressing as fast as some other players, but I'm taking it one step at a time. I'm studying the defense and just learning it step-by-step."

In the past few years, Coach Holliday hasn't had a whole lot of safeties to work with. Now there's about 20 of you out there. How has that changed things?

"There's a lot of young competition out there. It's making everyone stay on their horses right now. You slip on one play and you're going to take seven steps back. Everyone's getting a bit of a reality check right now. Everybody's got the attitude like I want to see what he can do, and I want to see what he can do."

What are your goals?

"My goal is to become the starting free safety. With Reggie at that position and me being so silent last year, everyone's kind of forgot about me. I want to tell everyone that I'm back. I'm 100 percent and ready to go."

Kyle Jackson was a guy who was starting by the end of his freshmen year, lost the job, and is now fighting his way back. What's your relationship like with him and how's the competition going between you two?

"Kyle and I knew each other back in high school, coming from the same area. We have a great relationship, but at the same time, I understand that he wants to play and I want to play, so whatever happens, happens. At the start of the season, it's all going to come down to coach."

What are the coaches saying to you?

"Keep battling it out. He hasn't named a starting free safety yet. He's got me running in the ones, he's got Kyle running with the ones. We're just splitting time right now, but like I said earlier, it's so easy to take seven steps back with all this talent around here right now."

How has Tony Joiner impacted you as the new leader of this defense?

"When I first got here, I wasn't a very vocal person, but Tony came and grabbed me and said if you're going to play safety you have to talk. Watching him at practice, it gives me goose bumps sometimes. I've learned a lot from Tony. He's been like a big brother to me. Every time I see him do something, I try to do it, too."

Safeties are known for some of the trash talking that they do out on the field. What's the best line you've ever heard?

"Reggie did all the trash talking last year. They always say, ‘it's a grown man's game when you come across this middle.'"

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