Florida State fans have grown comfortable with their embarrassment of skill-position weapons this year. With no seniors among the three-headed monster in their backfield, they were hoping to enjoy that advantage beyond just 2013.
But according to Chris Nee of 247Sports, a recent high school running back on a recruiting visit was told by Seminoles star James Wilder Jr. that he and Devonta Freeman might leave early for the NFL after this season.
Per Nee's report, which cites 4-star running back Shai McKenzie:
During the visit, McKenzie spent a good bit of time with Florida State junior running back James Wilder Jr.
“He just really enjoys it basically,” McKenzie said about what Wilder told him. “He told me that him and (Devonta) Freeman could be leaving after this year, so it is a good opportunity for myself to come in and play early.”
According to McKenzie, head coach Jimbo Fisher also alluded to a need at the running back position, which seems to indicate that he doesn't anticipate Wilder and Freeman sticking around for too long.
And why should he? Freeman has been a monster this season, having racked up 824 yards and nine touchdowns on just 123 touches. He's a little bit undersized (5'9''), but Freeman runs low to the ground and should make a fine NFL player.
Wilder Jr., meanwhile, has touched the ball only 53 times this season, but according to Mike Huguenin of NFL.com, he is considered the better pro prospect. His father, James Wilder Sr., played almost a decade with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and he has ideal size of the position.
B/R's Matt Miller has a Round 4-5 grade on both of them, which means they would be expected to contribute at the next level, though neither should be too eager to declare in a deep year for running backs:
I have both James WIlder and Devonta Freeman as Rd4-5 players right now. Good RB crop could push them down farther. #FSU— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) November 5, 2013
Some of this might have to be taken with a grain of salt. No high school prospect wants to hear that he will be trapped at the bottom of the depth chart as a freshman, so source bias has to be taken into account with this report.
Who's to say if Freeman and Wilder are around next season? The Seminoles' focus should still be solely on this season, and no matter what Wilder told some high school recruit, his play doesn't indicate any sort of NFL distraction.
And as for next season: So long as Jameis Winston is around, the offense will be just fine.