James Wilder Jr. checking out the scene at UGA, Tech

Tampa's James Wilder Jr. will get a close-up look at Georgia and Georgia Tech this week. (Photo by Chris Hays/Orlando Sentinel)

Tampa's James Wilder Jr. will get a close-up look at Georgia and Georgia Tech this week. (Photo by Chris Hays/Orlando Sentinel)

Of blue-chip recruits, college coaches often say, “if you can just get them on campus, anything can happen.”

Well, Georgia and Georgia Tech will have that chance with the top recruiting prospect in America, who’s coming to town this week. Running back James Wilder Jr. of Tampa is in Athens today and Friday to check out UGA and will visit Georgia Tech on Saturday, his coach at Plant High confirmed.

Wilder made the drive up to Athens with teammate Tate Rogers, a fullback, and Rogers’ mother, Plant coach Robert Weiner said. Wilder intends to attend Georgia’s annual “Dawg Night” elite prospect camp on Friday but will not necessarily participate in drills.

“Yep, James is at Georgia today and tomorrow and he’s going to Georgia Tech on Saturday,” said Weiner, who was about to board a plane with Plant’s Phillip Ely to fly to California for the Elite 11 quarterback camp. “He’s looking forward to seeing what they have to offer.”

Wilder, who has more than 80 scholarship offers, lists both Tech and UGA among his final five, which includes Florida, Florida State and Alabama.

Rumors that Wilder is heavy Florida lean have been prevalent of late. In fact, there was a hoax story that circulated Wednesday night thanks to a fake email address and Facebook page that Wilder had committed to the Gators.

Weiner said even the notion that Wilder intends to play in state isn’t accurate.

“He really doesn’t know that yet,” Weiner insisted, adding that Georgia and Tech are considered strong options for Wilder. “He wouldn’t make that long of a trip if there wasn’t a real chance. He wants to give them a good look.”

Of course, Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray and tight end Orson Charles, who both played at Plant, have been selling the Bulldogs hard to Wilder. Meanwhile, Wilder really likes Tech’s run-oriented offense. And, at 6-2, 220, he is a perfect fit for the B-back position at which Jonathan Dwyer thrived the last two seasons.

Wilder, the son of the former Tampa Bay Bucs of the same name, is ranked the No. 1 overall prospect in America by ESPNU and No. 3 by Rivals. He wants to play running back in college but also projects as an NFL prospect as a linebacker and defensive end.

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202 comments Add your comment

nickz

July 15th, 2010
3:03 pm

1st! Let go dawgs!!!

Junior Samples

July 15th, 2010
3:04 pm

me be First????

Jacket Backer

July 15th, 2010
3:09 pm

Would make a good B back!

Go Jackets!!

jasont13

July 15th, 2010
3:11 pm

I think it comes down to either UGA or Florida. UGA purely because of Orson Charles and Aaron Murray.

The Bees Nees

July 15th, 2010
3:12 pm

Come be a Jacket!!!

theTruth

July 15th, 2010
3:15 pm

1) UF 2) FSU 3) BAMA 4) UGA

UGA (STUPID REDNECK FANS, 7-5, 1980)

July 15th, 2010
3:16 pm

GET A DEGREE FROM A REAL SCHOOL, GO TECH

RambleOn84

July 15th, 2010
3:17 pm

Would love for him to come Tech.

With that said, I think it is a great sign that we are even in his top 5.

How many times can you remember the top prospect in the nation (not even from the state, I might add) having Tech as one of his top choices?

Not under Gailey and not under O’Leary.

Johnson is doing a great job, and this is just further proof.

UGA (STUPID REDNECK FANS, 7-5, 1980)

July 15th, 2010
3:17 pm

THE TRUTH- THE WORD IS

1-UF
2-GT
3-FSU
4-UGA
5-BAMA

THANKS THOUGH.

dawgfan

July 15th, 2010
3:18 pm

I thought I heard that Murray never played with Wilder. Hmm.

Destin Dawg

July 15th, 2010
3:19 pm

UGA = a great education in the best college town in USA… new coaching mentality and intensity.. good recruitng class getting better alll the time… hey we had our bad year .. still won a bowl game !!! James come to Athens… gooooo Dawgs !!! &

G-Dawg

July 15th, 2010
3:20 pm

There’s a pic of James in a Gator hat on this guy’s twitter: http://twitter.com/KeithRIVALS

UGA (STUPID REDNECK FANS, 7-5, 1980)

July 15th, 2010
3:22 pm

HE WOULD MAKE A GOOD B-BACK AND GET PLAYING TIME TOO. HE WOULD NEVER GET A CHANCE TO RUN THE BALL AT A UGA, FSU, OR UF. THOSE SCHOOLS ARE ALREADY SLAP FULL OF 5 STAR RUNNING BACKS THAT ARE FIT FOR THEIR SYSTEM. WILDER WOULD MAKE A PERFECT B-BACK AND A YELLOW JACKET.

RambleOn84

July 15th, 2010
3:27 pm

“Best college town in USA” is quite a stretch…ever been to Austin?

GT Alum

July 15th, 2010
3:28 pm

Sounds like he wants to stay in the SE. Nice that both Georgia schools with established FBS programs are in the top 5. It will be interesting to hear what he thinks after this weekend.

will

July 15th, 2010
3:29 pm

orson charles is good friends with him. go dawgs!!!

rduck

July 15th, 2010
3:29 pm

would love to see him at B-back for the Jackets. he would be a monster running between the tackles and breaking into the secondary. best of luck to you young man wherever you choose. i agree that it is a good sign for the Jackets to be in his top 5, says alot about where coach johnson and the GT program are headed..

Chomp2wice

July 15th, 2010
3:31 pm

Tampa Plant where Wilder goes to school to plays similar hybrid traditional & spread offense like the Gators run. Unless the other schools plays both (GT-triple option, Bama, UGA & FSU-traditional)…I see the likelihood of him pledging to UF.

SEC fan

July 15th, 2010
3:34 pm

G-dawg -

If you keep telling yourself that enough times you’ll actually believe that. Seriously, stop swallowing those tar balls!

Harold

July 15th, 2010
3:35 pm

Georgia’s going to be in the hunt for the National Championship for 2010 & 2011, with, or without Wilder. If he wants to play in the NFL, he needs to come to Georgia, who puts more guys into the NFL than anyone else. Saban & Meyer have never stayed at 1 school for more than 6 years, so if he goes there, they will not be his coach when he gets there. Georgia is closer to his home.

Everybody says Aaron Murray is the best leader, we’re about to see what kind of leader he is, if he can reel in Wilder, I’ll be really impressed. It would be cool seeing Plant’s Murray, Charles, and Wilder all winnning a National Championship together. If he’s got chops, Richt will play him as a freshman, just like he did Washaun.

GeoffDawg

July 15th, 2010
3:36 pm

Good grief! How much talent do they have in that Plant HS pipeline? That’s an embarrassment of riches.

MasterG

July 15th, 2010
3:37 pm

Wilder did not play at Plant until 2009. By then, Murray and Charles had graduated. Wilder was at Chamberlain in 2008.

Dawg in Tampa

July 15th, 2010
3:39 pm

Watched him a few times here in Tampa , very strong runner and also big hitter on defense . True he is from Plant HS same as Aaron and Orson .

Chip Towers

July 15th, 2010
3:42 pm

MasterG: Didn’t realize that. Coach just mentioned they’d been talking up Georgia to him.

npgator

July 15th, 2010
3:46 pm

He will be a Gator trust me on that. He grew up a Gator fan and Urban Meyer is the best recruiter in the nation just ask the class of 2010.

juvenal

July 15th, 2010
3:46 pm

um has the most-hard to beat the scenery in fla…#1 city in the us for African-American professionals?-the ATL

Vick=Dog killing Thug

July 15th, 2010
3:48 pm

Marshall, Lemay and Wilder SWEET !!

Chomp2wice

July 15th, 2010
3:51 pm

Harold-
The Gators had 9 players drafted this past NFL Draft (three 1st Rd picks), highest in any program in country. What are you talking about?

Also, he plays for Tampa Plant…in Florida. The Florida programs are closer to him than Georgia would be.

Your post confused me.

Destin Dawg

July 15th, 2010
3:52 pm

When Bill Curry came to GT as HC… he had to write
PMA… (Positive Mental Attitude ) on the helmets to try to overcome all the negative Bad Carma from the Techies

MasterG

July 15th, 2010
3:53 pm

No problem Chip … just trying to help. your blog is OUTSTANDING

Wilder played at Chamberlain (Tampa) in ‘08 … Dontae Aycock (Auburn, USF) was his QB

George Stein

July 15th, 2010
3:54 pm

If he ended up at Tech, we’d probably hear about how much he sucks. Plus, all of a sudden he’d have a 6.4 second 40.

Destin Dawg

July 15th, 2010
4:00 pm

All the professionals that work in downtown Atlanta..escape to the suburbs at 5 or 6 PM every day ??!! there you are at Tech with outlaws/ drug dealers/ hookers etc… sirens all night etc.. trust me I lived there !!

RambleOn84

July 15th, 2010
4:02 pm

And there are no public housing projects in Athens, right?

juvenal

July 15th, 2010
4:03 pm

i don’t think African-Americans are as afraid of downtown as the average dawg fan…

RambleOn84

July 15th, 2010
4:03 pm

Anyway, I’m pretty sure big, tough football players don’t have to worry about getting mugged…even if Atlanta were as bad as you say it is (it’s not).

RxDawg

July 15th, 2010
4:05 pm

“He wouldn’t make that long of a trip if there wasn’t a real chance. He wants to give them a good look.”

That’s very true. Hope he likes what he sees in Athens. I still would like to see him at LB.

GeoffDawg

July 15th, 2010
4:08 pm

Muggers with guns are the great equalizer over muscles RambleOn84. That being said, I think the danger is a little overblown. Just use some common sense walking around at night and you’ll probably be fine.

Chip Towers

July 15th, 2010
4:10 pm

Hey guys. Running a little low on email questions for Friday’s “Mailbag.” If you have a good one, email me at AJCrecruiting@yahoo.com. Otherwise I may have to recast some from last week’s Mailbag, which was only up a couple of hours before being trumped by UT brawl talk.

DC3

July 15th, 2010
4:14 pm

is it possible that crowell and wilder can be a thunder and lightning for uga?

stoopid

July 15th, 2010
4:19 pm

DC3: thats exactly what i was thinkin! Imagine that 1-2 combo in a few years! Wilder runnin over people and Crowell breakin ankles

wiley

July 15th, 2010
4:38 pm

He would make a great B Back for Tech. He has visited Tech once already….with that 5 star Linebacker Seward. Its nice to see the Jackets in on some big time talent. He would be the man in the Triple option offense.

wiley

July 15th, 2010
4:42 pm

“He wouldn’t make that long of a trip if there wasn’t a real chance. He wants to give them a good look.”

Its funny how we both interpret this in different ways. Tech fans think he is coming to Tech…UGA fans think hes going to UGA. Its gonna be an uphill battle against UF…those national championships may trump his relationships with the plant players at UGA and the amount of carries he know he would get at Tech. Wish you luck Mr Wilder….all these schools can and will get you to the next level. Don’t listen to the BS from either side…they are all fine institutions.

wiley

July 15th, 2010
4:47 pm

Oh well thanks for the correction Master G…I guess UGA doesn’t have a leg up anymore. Im sure they know each other though. I really hope PJ lands at least one of these 5 star players that we are talking too. It would open doors to future recruits.

TDawg

July 15th, 2010
4:52 pm

i say he should go to uga or gt because at Florida hes never going to get a chance to play, but id like it if he went to Georgia more than if he went to gt or bama.

George Stein

July 15th, 2010
5:06 pm

Chip – what position is UF recruiting him for? Florida typically deploys the “speed midget” types in their running game. I really don’t recall them having a big tailback under Meyer.

I’m a Tech fan but UGA or Tech would seem ideal as Bama is pretty set at RB even after Ingram leaves this year with Richardson set to take over. FSU would be the only other option but they don’t seem to have the power running attack. Fisher seems to want to throw it all over the place – but that might be more Ponder than the general attack.

sting

July 15th, 2010
5:09 pm

Georgia Stein I know I am not Chip but I think UF is (possibly)misleading Wilder. He is 6′2 and your right I dont think UF uses backs with that kind of size in their spread….correct me if im wrong. They recruited TJ Pridemore like that and eventually made him a linebacker. I think UF wants him to be a linebacker eventually. This is just my opinion but Urban has done it before.

1eyedJack

July 15th, 2010
5:42 pm

Don’t hold your breath guys, I think it’s UF and then everybody else. Of the bunch I think only Saban is a big enough liar to sway him.

Delbert D.

July 15th, 2010
5:52 pm

What position would he play at Florida?

GTfanfrom1951

July 15th, 2010
5:59 pm

He would be very happy running in the white and gold and get a great degree from a top school. You can not beat that.

John

July 15th, 2010
6:07 pm

Let look at this Ea style:

Early Playing time: GT, UGA, UF & FSU tie, BAMA last
Pro factory (RB): (UGA & BAMA tie, GT, FSU, UF
Touches per gam GT, BAMA, UGA, FSU, UF
Location: UF, FSU (UGA & GT tie), BAMA
Academics: GT, UF, UGA, FSU, BAMA
Prestige: UF & BAMA tie, FSU & UGA tie, GT
Coaches: UF & BAMA tie, GT, UGA, FSU
Championship Chances: UF, BAMA tie, GT, UGA, FSU

If I were him, it would be between UF and GT, with UGA amd BAMA close behind