December 7, 2008

Former Gator heading back to the SEC

Jamar Hornsby did not intent to make a decision this weekend on his official visit to Ole Miss.

However, the 6-foot-3, 200-pound safety saw what he wanted to see. Spontaneity won the day.

"It went great," Hornsby said Sunday morning. "It went good enough for me to commit. It exceeded my expectations. I wanted to see how coaches interacted with players. I wanted to watch practice and I got a chance to see the players at my position."

Hornsby committed to the Rebels during a meeting this morning with Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt.

"He was real excited," Hornsby said. "Coach Nutt is another one of the players out there, a real cool guy."

Hornsby, who chose Ole Miss over Kentucky, Arkansas and others, said Rebel safety coach Kim Dameron told him he will get a look at both strong safety and free safety. Jamarca Sanford's college career will end in early January, while free safety Kendrick Lewis emerged as an all-star caliber player in the second half of this season.

"I'm kind of used to that same scheme, being a drop-down safety as well as being in the middle of the field," Hornsby said. "(Dameron) said I could cross-train and learn both positions. I'm more comfortable as a free, but if I have to make that adjustment, it won't be too much of a change."

Hornsby, who is unranked by Rivals.com at this point, was a highly-recruited prospect two years ago. He chose Florida over dozens of offers from elite programs all over the country and worked his way into the Gators' starting lineup as a freshman.

Hornsby was dismissed from the Florida team following the 2006 season after being charged with misdemeanor charges of credit card fraud. His case is still pending and a plea agreement is expected to be reached later this month. No details of the agreement have been disclosed, according to a recent report published in a Jacksonville newspaper.

"I'm past all that," Hornsby said. "I know it's going to come up eventually, but I'm prepared for it. I just look over it now."

Instead, Hornsby is focused on a second chance in the Southeastern Conference.

"I'm real excited," Hornsby said. "When I was growing up, I wanted to play in the SEC. I went to Florida. That didn't work out."

Hornsby enrolled at East Mississippi Community College in Scooba and earned NCJAA All-Region 23 defensive MVP as well as first-team all-state honors. The Jacksonville, Fla., native was the Lions' second-leading tackler on the year with 111 total tackles (64 solos and 47 assists) and was tied for third on the club with two interceptions. Hornsby was also credited with eight pass breakups, four quarterback hurries and three forced fumbles on the year.

He spent the weekend hanging out with Lewis, Mike Wallace and Marshay Green and watched his former team beat No. 1 Alabama in Saturday's Southeastern Conference Championship Game in Atlanta. Hornsby's goal is to watch that game again next December, only in an Ole Miss uniform and with a field-level view.

"If you really think about it, Ole Miss is only a couple of fumbles and a few dropped passes from being in the SEC Championship Game," Hornsby said. "I think next year, we'll be right there in the mix for a championship."

Hornsby is on pace to graduate in May. He said he'll report to Ole Miss immediately afterwards to prepare for his two years with the Rebels.

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