4-star linebacker James Hearns is no longer considered a Florida commitment, and this could end up being good news for Auburn.
While you never like to see a kid get his scholarship pulled, it does happen from time to time—no matter the reason. Derek Tyson of ESPN.com reported on Florida's decision in regard to Hearns:
Florida parted ways with ESPN 300 linebacker James Hearns (Tallahassee, Fla./Lincoln) on Thursday afternoon. The 6-foot-3, 230-pound middle linebacker, who visited Auburn last weekend, said a Florida coach called him on Thursday to inform him.
"They called me today and I was in the process of qualifying in terms of academics," Hearns said, "and Florida really didn't want to wait. Maybe visiting other schools had something to do with it, but they didn't come out and say that."
This is definitely an unfortunate turn of events for Hearns, but the good news for him is that he won't have a hard time finding another interested school because of his talent. Not every recruit is so lucky after a scholarship pull.
At 6'3'' and 235 pounds, he's ranked as the No. 17 inside linebacker in the 2013 class, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings. Hearns is undoubtedly a very talented defender, and he'll be a big addition to whichever class he ends up with.
As of now, he currently has two teams worth noting on his 247Sports interest list: Kentucky and Auburn.
According to Tyson's report, Hearns is visiting Kentucky on Friday and then he's not necessarily sure what he'll do after that. If there is a time for Auburn to step in and take advantage on the recruiting trail, this would be it.
The Tigers just received an official visit from the talented linebacker, and he does boast an offer from Auburn. The Tigers have had a rather abysmal stretch of time on the recruiting trail that included decommitments from 5-star inside linebacker Reuben Foster, 5-star defensive end Dee Liner and 4-star inside linebacker Trey Johnson—who is now an Ohio State commitment—amongst a few others.
Where will Hearns end up?
Hearns is obviously interested, and now that Florida has let him go, this could be the perfect time for Gus Malzahn and his staff to devote some recruiting attention to the 4-star inside linebacker.
Landing Hearns would be huge for Auburn from a momentum standpoint, but there's also the fact that he's just a very talented recruit.
It would be a great way for Auburn to kick off the homestretch to national signing day (Feb. 6), and it could even help the Tigers in their quest to win back Foster, keep 5-star defensive end Carl Lawson and perhaps even pull off an upset and win over the commitment of 5-star defensive tackle Montravius Adams.
All it takes is one big commitment to get things rolling on the recruiting trail, so the Auburn Tigers needs to capitalize here.
Frankly, the Tigers don't have much of a choice, so I'm going to go ahead and say yes. They need to finish 2013 off on a strong note, and winning over Hearns would be a great start.
Thankfully, Auburn seems to be in a good position to do just that.