The recruiting whirlwind came to an end on Saturday for Tallahassee (Fla.) Lincoln linebacker James Hearns, as the 2013 prospect signed a letter of intent to attend Louisville.
Hearns committed to Florida early in the process before both parties went their separate ways. It was a surprise to most in the recruiting industry that he chose the Gators because Lincoln has only sent two players to Gainesville since 2002.
Fast forward to late June, and Cardinals head coach Charlie Strong had to be smiling when the ink dried on Hearns' LOI. Strong and his staff have had enough success in the Sunshine State to warrant a zip code change on their driver licenses.
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This isn't a prospect that is going to fill the roster because there was an open scholarship. The Rivals250 member is a big-play linebacker that has the ability to be an impact player if he progresses.
Lincoln head coach Yusef Shakir caught up with Rivals.com to break down the pairing.
"This is a good opportunity for James," Shakier said. "He has so much potential, sometimes it' just a motivation thing with him. Louisville did a nice job staying with him. Coach [Ron] Dugans and I grew up together and he is such a good recruiter because he cares."
At one point, most felt Hearns was headed to Kentucky, but on Signing Day he never signed and schools tried to come in late to snag him.
Shakir said, "Coach Ron is a big reason he is there. When he comes to our school he talks to everyone on the roster even if he knows they won't play at the next level. That's the type of guy he is and people notice."
Hearns noticed and now he has to make the most of his chance. Next year he will be joined by Lincoln standout Jeff Williams, who committed to Louisville in April.
"Having James play with Jeff is great. Coach Strong and the staff won't be telling James how great he is and stuff like that. They will make sure he is doing all the right things on and off the field. If he does that he has a chance to be a good one for them," cited Shakir.
Hearns has gone from unwanted to finding a place that fits and it's better late than never.