James Wilder is an outstanding athlete out of Plant High School in Tampa, FL. He's also considered one of the top recruiting prospects in the nation. Every Division I school in the country wants to get its hands on him, and he's received over 90 offers thus far.
That said, he's narrowed his options to five lucky suitors: Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Georgia Tech, and Alabama and every last one of them is dead serious about landing him. However, most of them want him on the defensive side of the ball, and he's already made it clear that he wants to play running back—period.
Now everyone is scrambling to accommodate his wishes, saying they will let him play whatever position he chooses—he's skeptical.
As such, he has taken a cautious approach to his recruitment and is now evaluating each school not only based on fit but on their honesty with him as well.
Does Georgia have a shot at landing this widely considered Florida Gator-lean?
Well, there are a few reasons to believe in miracles, just look at what Wilder has said about the type of school he wants to attend and how those things could work to Georgia's advantage:
"I want to trust the coaching staff that I play for, and trusting the coaches is actually the biggest part of my decision...so if I don’t trust the coaching staff, then I am definitely not choosing that school."
Coach Richt is a straight-shooter. His reputation is built on the very foundation that Wilder craves most—honesty.
It is a rare occasion that a prospect is ever heard to have said he was misled or lied to by the Georgia coaching staff. It's a safe bet that Wilder—who was in Athens on Thursday and Friday—could appreciate the candor that Richt and his staff were sure to convey.
"I am now researching a lot of schools to see which ones have used big backs to carry the ball for them in the past and things like that."
The Bulldogs know a little something about using a big back to carry the football.
Current starters Caleb King and Washaun Ealey are both 5'11" and 200-plus pounds. Former stars Knowshon Moreno and Musa Smith were also 5'10" or better, and also played at the 200-plus pound mark.
Wilder is 6'2", 215 pounds, of solid muscle. If he's looking for a school that is willing to give him a shot at running back, then Georgia would be as good a place as any. After all, Richard Samuel, who is built similarly, was given the starting nod last season.
The experiment with Samuel ultimately failed as his place will be on the defensive side of the ball, but, the fact remains, Georgia isn't opposed to using a big guy at tailback—never has been.
"I want to play in an offense that a big back like me fits into the best."
Despite the fact Wilder is considered to be Florida-leaning, there are few schools in the SEC who feature their back better than Georgia and Alabama. If he's looking to play early and often at the position of his choice, then Georgia is a good fit—period.
However, that said, Wilder may still find resistance to his decision as he grades out well as a defensive player and, in my very humble opinion, I think he'd be a beast on defense—the guy is some kind of fierce coming off the edge and would be a monster at OLB or DE—particularly in Georgia's 3-4 scheme.
Just my two cents.
Wilder already has two ex-teammates who already call Athens home. Both Aaron Murray and Orson Charles are rising sophomores at Georgia and, according to Chip Towers at the AJC, both have been campaigning heavily for Wilder to join them next season.
Over the weekend the trio spent a lot of time together in Athens, hanging out at the local restaurants and around town, and you can bet both guys had his ear when discussing the possibility of him choosing Georgia over his home state Gators.
Furthermore, the recent departure of Dontavius Jackson has shortened the depth chart at tailback, making the possibility of playing early at that spot an even bigger possibility.
Nabbing him seems like a long shot, but the same was said of Orson Charles, so anything's possible.
Below are some highlights of Wilder playing both offense and defense:
(This article appears courtesy of The Lady Sportswriter )