Florida State Recruiting 2013: Seminoles Foolishly Boot Florida Commit from Camp
Unless you're committed to Florida State, currently attending or playing for Florida State, or an alumni of Florida State, there is no way you can defend the team's recent ejection of Florida commit James Hearns.
It simply makes no sense.
Hearns, a Rivals 4-star linebacker and one of the top 10 players in the country at his position, reportedly gave a "Gator Chomp" at the Seminoles' camp this weekend and was subsequently tossed by coaches from the event. The Tallahassee native tweeted:
I just got ejected for throwing up the gator chomp at Fsu camp— James Hearns (@JamesHearns21) June 16, 2012
Should this be the complete story and Hearns was legitimately tossed for a playful arm motion, the 'Noles should be embarrassed...and regretful.
Hearns committed to the Gators in February of this year, one day after 2012's national signing day came to an end. But as we well know, a commitment in February could mean absolutely nothing, especially in today's recruiting scene, where teenagers continually change their mind under the sometimes overwhelming national attention and scrutiny.
And Hearns in particular, a recruit basically living in Florida State's own backyard and playing at Lincoln HS in Tallahassee, could still have been flipped. The 6'3" 230-pounder holds an offer from the Seminoles, as well as the likes of Alabama, Georgia, LSU, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Penn State, Tennessee and USC.
Why Florida State's staff overreacted remains to be seen, but it could possibly be chalked up to jealousy or frustration. It wasn't like Hearns was there by himself, either. According to Micah Grimes of Bay News 9, he was attending the camp with his high school team.
Was the Florida State Staff Justified in Tossing Hearns?
Since the incident, Twitter has erupted, with fans from both Florida and Florida State getting their words in. Not only has Hearns not signed a letter of intent to play for Florida, but he hasn't even started his senior year of high school yet.
The "Chomp" has turned him into somewhat of a hero now, and the Gators can fully thank Jimbo Fisher and company for helping raise the fanbase's awareness of a rather talented player.
Florida State, meanwhile, gained nothing out of this but negative press. They also ended any chance of Hearns ever deciding to play for them over the Gators.
UPDATE: According to Bud Elliot and SB Nation Recruiting, the ejection of Hearns is not in any way the personal, inhospitable slight it appears at first blush. From Elliot:
Taunting is an ejectable offense in most 7-on-7 events, including the tournament hosted by Florida State.
And after returning an interception, Hearns and the opposing quarterback got into it. Hearns threw the chomp in the QB's face and was hit with a taunting flag, his second of the tournament. The second taunting penalty triggered the ejection.
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