James Wilder Jr. Officially Commits To FSU Over Florida and Georgia
Well it appears the talk of James Wilder to Georgia was just that, talk.
After days of speculation, rumors, and reports, Wilder officially committed to FSU on Wednesday during an announcement at Plant View High School in Tampa.
On Tuesday, Brent McMurphy of AOL Fanhouse reported that Wilder was set to commit to Georgia "barring a last minute change of heart."
This morning Mitch Stephens of MaxPreps.com indicated that a source close to MaxPreps said there was an 80-90 percent chance that Wilder will not commit to Georgia and that proved to be the more reliable of the two reports.
Wilder is the No. 1 prospect in the country on MaxPreps, the No. 3 prospect on Rivals, and the No. 7 prospect on Scout. He's projected as a 5-star talent on both ends of the field and has thrived as a running back and linebacker in high school.
The 6'3" and 215 pound prospect insisted that he wanted to play running back in college and it appears that's where his home is going to be with the Seminoles, at least for now.
Here's the breakdown of the situation in Tallahassee.
What Wilder Brings To The Table: Scouting Report and Highlights
Wilder has off the charts strength and, pound for pound, is probably the strongest prospect in the country.
He's a two-way player who projects as a 5-star running back, linebacker, or defensive end.
He's a leader on and off the field and plays hard every down.
Wilder seems best suited to play defense, but we may never get to see that skill-set in college. He's a ball hawk with great instincts, and could do a lot of damage as a pass rushing outside linebacker/defensive end hybrid—but he insists he wants to play running back.
And that's where FSU has promised to play him.
Offense or Defense: Wilder The Ball-Carrier or The Ball-Hawk?
Wilder was being recruited primarily as a defensive player, as many feel that his ball-hawking skill, aggression, and instincts are best-suited for defense.
Many coaches and scouts envision him as a hybrid defender with the versatility to line up with a hand in the dirt as a defensive end or move outside to linebacker depending not just on the scheme, but the play.
He could cause headaches for offensive coaches wondering where he'll line up and what his assignments would be practically every play of the game. There might not be another prospect in the country who could do quite what he can.
The issue: Wilder is serious about playing running back and that's where he plans to play in college.
It was was drew him to FSU, Florida, and Georgia in the first place as those were the schools that firmly recruited him as a running back once he made his intentions known.
He wanted to go to a school that has utilized big backs in the past and would give him an honest shot to pursue this at the next level.
FSU's 2011 Recruiting Class
Five-Star Commitments: 2
Four-Star Commitments: 3
Three-Star Commitments: 10
FSU should jump into the top 10 recruiting classes now and is still in the running for some of Florida's best talent beyond today's addition of Wilder.
So far they have some of the best athletes in the country committed, and fans should be excited for it.
With 5-star safety Karlos Williams, 4-star offensive tackle Bobby Hart, 4-star receiver Rashad Greene, and 5-star defensive end Terrance Smith on board, FSU has five of the top 100 commitments to this point.
That's of course including Wilder, the 5-star native of Tampa who instantly becomes the top prospect of FSU's class.
Where Does Wilder Fit In?
If Wilder was to stay on the defensive side of the ball things would get a little more tricky considering how stacked this team is at linebacker and defensive end, but on offense it's a whole different story.
Four-star running back Lonnie Pryor and JUCO transfer Debrale Smiley are the only two high-profile backs the Seminoles have brought in since 2009 and neither bring as much to the table as Wilder.
It wouldn't be surprising to see him quickly leapfrog both players on the depth chart the moment he arrives on campus.
As for the current situation at running back, FSU exited the spring with no clear-cut starter at the position and is expected to utilize a running back by committee approach in 2010.
Chris Thompson, the starter, will be a junior in 2011, his primary backup, Jermaine Thomas, will be a senior, and third-string back Ty Jones will be a junior; none have inspired too much confidence in the coaching staff.
Wilder will see significant playing time as a true freshman and it would have the chance to seize the starting gig by 2012, if he isn't able to do it in 2011 outright.