TALLAHASSEE, FL - On Wednesday morning Inside the Gators stopped by Tallahassee (Fla.) Lincoln High School to check in on 2013 Florida Gators linebacker commitment James Hearns and 2014 cornerback target Kendall Randolph.
HEARNS READY TO REPRESENT
It was a long, long off-season for Rivals250 linebacker Hearns. Last year, the Florida four-star commit missed most of his junior season due to an ACL tear.
Hearns said that being unable to compete last year combined with the inactivity that comes in the off-season has him chomping at the bit for a big come back for his final season of high school.
"I've had a lot of emotions of getting back on the field," stated Hearns. "There were times when I wondered if I would still be the same and then at the same time would wonder if I would come back better than before. There's a lot of mixed emotions, but it's so great to be back. My knee doesn't bother me at all anymore. Really everything is fine, no swelling. I'm 100 percent ready to go."
One person who has helped Hearns throughout the ordeal is the one person who will be coaching him on the next level. Hearns said, that with regards to his injury, this summer he reached out to his future position coach at Florida, linebackers coach D.J. Durkin.
"He made me feel a lot better," said Hearns. "He told me with the way medicine is now-a-days an ACL isn't how it used to be. Back then, when it happened you were done with sports. He just asks me all the time how it's doing and tells me to keep rehabbing and things like that. We talk on a weekly basis sometimes two or three times. I am going to reach out to the strength coach Jeff Dillman soon too, so I can see what he has to say."
With his place in Florida's Class of 2013 secure, the 6-foot-3, 230-pound backer said he has a few prospects that he has been trying to persuade to join.
"We've definitely been trying to get DeMarcus Walker, Laremy Tunsil, and Greg Gilmore. I haven't been able to talk with them recently just because I have been so caught up with football but I spoke with them over the summer. I talked to DeMarcus at Friday Night Lights and really all the commits were on him. It's supposed to be out of Florida and Alabama - so we'll see. He said he knows where he is going, but wouldn't say anything."
JUNIOR-TO-BE CORNER HEARING FROM FLORIDA
With 11 offers already, Randolph will be one of the top prospects in North Florida for the Class of 2014. Despite all of the early attention, Randolph isn't laying back and waiting for schools to come see him. Instead he has hit the road.
Over the summer Randolph camped at Florida twice, participated in 7-on- 7 camps at both Florida State and Georgia, and finally took an unofficial visit to Auburn.
Florida hasn't offered, but according to Randolph the Gators are one of the schools recruiting him the hardest at this time.
"I talk with Coach (Travaris) Robinson from Florida," said Randolph. "Not so much recently because the season is starting and we're both busy, but he says he loves my work ethic and thinks I am a great athlete and I like to compete. He tells me he will work really hard to get me that offer and I am just waiting on that call. That will be a big one because James is committed there and Raphael (Andrades)."
Despite growing up in the heart of Seminole country, Randolph said he grew up watching the Gators.
"I'm not going to lie, I did kind of grow up a Florida fan," laughed Randolph. "I kind of went back and forth. I am more of a fan of teams in Florida, I have two offers from Florida teams and really want that offer from UF."
Even though the recruiting process is still fairly young for the 5-foot-11, 185-pound corner, he did say there are two early standouts.
"Right now I think Florida State and Auburn are sticking out, but that's just because I haven't a visit to South Carolina and don't have that official offer from Florida. Once I hopefully get those out the way it will be easier to narrow things down more."
He also noted with the fall season coming up he plans to take trips to games at Florida State, Auburn, Florida for the game against LSU, and possibly South Carolina.