Florida ILB commit Hearns talks FNL

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Although he didn't participate at Friday Night Lights, James Hearns (Tallahassee, Fla./Lincoln) still had a purpose inside Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

Observing some of the top recruits taking part in Florida's showcase, was fun even if he would have preferred to go through it himself. But Hearns wasn't just standing around.

With uncommitted targets around, Hearns wanted his voice to resonate.

"It was a good night, you know, a good turnout," he began. "There were a lot of recruits out there competing a high level, but it was good to get a chance to hang around and talk to people."

"They had me on the commits the whole time, but I tried to talk to DeMarcus Walker, Marcell Harris and those guys. They just took in what I had to say and seemed responsive."

Hearns met with the Gator coaching staff after the event to catch up. Something more hatched out of it, though.

Instead of arriving in the summer of 2013 with the majority of the class, January is the new goal.

"I sat down with the coaches and we figured out an academic plan for me to enroll at mid-year," Hearns revealed. "If I stick with it, I should be there in January."

Forfeiting potential memories with his classmates at Lincoln High School, the decision to become an early enrollee wasn't an easy one. But with eyes on a bigger future, Hearns' motivation is driving him to better things.

"It is giving up a lot, but at the same time, I am giving up a lot to gain a lot," he said. "Enrolling early will help me tremendously. Not only will I be getting familiar with college football, but I will have a chance to come in and play early.

"It isn't necessarily NFL aspirations, but at the same time, I chose Florida because it is an academic school, too. A degree from UF will not only help me, but I do want to make it to the NFL one day."