Florida commit ejected from FSU football camp for using ‘Gator Chomp’

Cameron Smith
Prep Rally

The time may have come where colleges are taking the early selections of prospective recruits a bit too seriously. The latest proof of that trend came Saturday in Florida, where top Class of 2013 recruit James Hearns, a Florida-committed linebacker, was ejected from a football camp at Florida State for doing the "Gator chomp," the jaw-like arm motion long used in Gainesville.

Tallahassee Lincoln linebacker James Hearns — Rivals.com
Tallahassee Lincoln linebacker James Hearns — Rivals.com

As first noted by Florida-based Bright House Sports Network, Tallahassee (Fla.) Lincoln high rising senior James Hearns tweeted news of his dismissal on Saturday from a camp hosted by Florida State head football coach Jimbo Fisher and the rest of the Seminoles coaching staff. Hearns, a four-star inside linebacker who committed to the Gators in February, is ranked as one of the top-10 linebackers in the nation and one of the top-25 recruits in the state of Florida by Rivals.com.

As one might expect, Hearns has received plenty of flack for choosing the Gators while growing up in Florida State's proverbial backyard. Those attacks came out of the woodwork after Hearns' alleged ejection on Saturday, with Florida State offensive lineman Daniel Glauser leading the charge.

If anything, booting Hearns from the camp probably all but ensured that he would end up at Florida. Almost immediately after Hearns came under fire, Florida fans on Twitter flocked to laud their prospective future linebacker as a hero who could lead them to glory in the years ahead.

Hearns reciprocated the love with plenty of re-tweets, all at the expense of Florida State, which probably lost any chance of bringing home the in-town recruit by kicking him out of its own camp.

Regardless, banning an 18-year-old for a goofy-looking arm motion doesn't make the Florida State coaching staff look particularly good to anyone who isn't a Florida State alum, student or prospective future student-athlete. Clearly, the classy move would have been for the FSU staff to look the other way. Instead, they did exactly the opposite and created a media firestorm as a result.

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