Long-time 2013 linebacker commitment James Hearns (Tallahassee, FL) and the Florida Gators officially parted ways on Thursday.
According to InsidetheGators.com’s Blake Alderman, Hearns and Florida decided an amicable split would be best for both parties as the player’s grades and ability to eventually qualify for admission were a continued concern for the school.
Hearns, who originally committed to the Gators on Feb. 2, 2012 as the team’s fourth 2013 pledge, is a unanimous four-star prospect who Rivals ranks as the 197th-best player in the nation.
At the time of his Florida pledge, Hearns boasted an impressive offer list that included teams like Alabama, Florida State, Georgia and LSU. Due to academic concerns, his list of potential destinations will be much more limited this time around.
Though losing a player of Hearns’s talent is not a positive for any recruiting class, the Gators have four other linebackers already committed for 2013 including five-star Alex Anzalone (Wyomissing, PA), four-star Daniel McMillian (Jacksonville, FL), four-star Matt Rolin (Ashburn, VA) and three-star Jarrad Davis (Kingsland, GA).
Landing Anzalone as an early enrollee came as a surprise for Florida, meaning Herans’s departure is even less impactful in the long run. The Gators are also still involved in the recruitment of four-star Quinton Powell (Daytona Beach, FL), who is set to decide on National Signing Day between UF or USC.