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Tampa (FL) Plant Athlete James Wilder Jr. commits to Florida State

James Wilder, one of the top prospects in the country, has committed to play for Florida State.  via <a href=""></a>
James Wilder, one of the top prospects in the country, has committed to play for Florida State. via

James Wilder Jr. has committed to play for Florida State.  The 6'2'' 225(lb) running back/linebacker, long thought to be a Gator lock, just committed to the Noles in a press conference at Plant High School.  He recently narrowed his choices to FSU, Florida, and Georgia.  Most thought this was a two team race between the 'Noles and the Gators.  He had offers from literally every BCS school, and the Seminoles won a huge recruiting battle.

The Seminole coaching staff did an especially great job of winning over Wilder's family.  They sold Wilder and his family on him having a future at the running back position.  Wilder said in past interviews that he was most comfortable with FSU's coaches. Coach Eddie Gran and Coach Lawrence Dawsey were particularly close to Wilder's mother.  Coach Jimbo Fisher certainly deserves a ton of credit as well. The staff has certainly shown that it can recruit with the best of them.

As far as rankings go, Wilder checks in at #19 overall (4*, 83 grade) in ESPN's rankings.  Rivals rates him as #3 overall (5*) in the nation.

Click "Continue reading this post" to watch his outrageous highlights and read his scouting reports!



SunshinePrep's - James Wilder (via SunshinePreps)

Run Wilder Run..James Wilder Jr. TD Run (via LorenHall81)

Army All-American game - James Wilder Jr. (via Nolenitalldatime)

James Wilder RB Tampa Plant High School (via EliteScouting)



Wilder's sophomore highlights on YouTube are clearly sped up.  Here, free via, are his real highlights from that year. 

From the recruiting board:

Wilder is one of the, if not the, most known about prospect in the country for this cycle. One of the 3 best players in the state, and potentially the best. Also, his size and frame are the prototype D1 football player. As a RB he is still able to use the elite level athleticism. He runs north to south and finds his cut very quickly., he has good hips. With very good competition he is able to run over, drag, and run by many defenders at the high school level. His power is unquestioned, however he isn’t particularly shifty, and isn't asked to show the type of vision that he is probably capable of (shows at second and third levels). Runs behind his pads well, and could be a huge advantage in blocking. Wilder is the type of player that around which a college builds its offense. With that said, he's an even better prospect at linebacker. But he wants to play RB and running back is what FSU is recruiting him as. Son of former NFL player James Wilder.  Film. |  Film 2  |  Film 3 (sophomore highlights) |  Film 4  | Film 5  | Film 6

ESPN says:

There might not be a more freakish athlete and more impressive prospect from a size to speed standpoint than Wilder II. The NFL lineage is definitely apparent when watching him shred opposing defenses as a running back but we feel his best upside may lie on defense as a disruptive edge player

While we think Wilder will end up on defense as an outside linebacker, his role as a running back at the high school level kept his defensive skills from developing. He is a rare athlete, but we put significant stock into being a football player. Until Wilder has a chance to commit to one position, he fits better as an athlete at this stage. We know he has rare tools, but we want to track his development and intangibles on defense. Those traits may not manifest themselves until he enters college.


ESPN was also at the Alabama Nike Camp in May:

There aren't too many players at the high school level more physically impressive than athlete James Wilder (Tampa, Fla./Plant). Wilder took on the challenge of playing a new position and impressed enough to earn LB MVP honors.

"I was planning to work out with the running backs or the defensive linemen," Wilder said. "I decided to with the linebackers but was still going to move over to the lineman for the one-on-ones, but I loved working with the 'backers, and we developed some great camaraderie right away.

"I decided to stay there, and I had a great time. The coaches were great, and I learned a lot. It was challenging since I haven't played much linebacker, but I think I showed I could play the position."

Wilder was dominant in the pass-rush drills as expected since he plays on the line for Plant but surprised many with his ability to drop back in to coverage.

"I was shocked to hear he wasn't a linebacker," LB coach Chris Gizzi said. "He had no problems flipping his hips and running with the running backs. He's a great kid too and worked really hard.

"Physically, he looks like a college player right now and had the biggest arms I've seen on a linebacker. He runs very well and I love how he competed. No matter where he plays in college, he's going to be a great player."

This is pretty big for the 'Noles, to say the least.