Report: James Wilder Jr. to choose Georgia over Florida, FSU

James Wilder Jr. could become the third blue-chip prospect from Tampa's Plant High to pick Georgia. (Photo by Bill Ward/Tampa Tribune).

James Wilder Jr. could become the third blue-chip prospect from Tampa's Plant High to pick Georgia. (Photo by Bill Ward/Tampa Tribune).

The general consensus has been that mega-prospect James Wilder Jr. of Tampa will commit to Florida or Florida State with Georgia coming in a distant third when he finally makes his choice public at a news conference Wednesday evening.

But all that began change late in the day Tuesday after an Internet report surfaced that the 6-foot-2, 220-pound athlete was actually favoring the Bulldogs. Citing sources, Brett McMurphy, a veteran reporter who writes for FanHouse.com, reports that Wilder has already made up his mind to commit to Georgia. Wilder makes his announcement at 5 p.m. Wednesday in the Plant High School Auditorium.

Wrote McMurphy: “Barring a last-minute change of heart, Tampa Plant High School running back James Wilder Jr., considered among the nation’s top high school football recruits, will attend Georgia next season, sources told FanHouse.”

Neither Wilder nor Plant coach Robert Weiner could be reached to confirm or deny the report.

Wilder — who reportedly has in the neighborhood of 80 scholarship offers — is an all-around athlete who could play running back, linebacker or defensive end in college. As a result, he’s all over the map in recruiting rankings. MaxPreps.com rates him the No. 1 overall recruit in America while Rivals.com ranks him No. 3 overall. Scout.com considers him the nation’s No. 1-ranked linebacker in the nation and ESPNU has him as No. 2-ranked athlete.

But Wilder, the son of the Tampa Bay Bucs’ all-time leader rusher James Wilder, has been open in his desire to play running back in college. Last season, he rushed for 1,004 yards and scored 15 touchdowns as a running back while leading Plant to the Class 5A state championship. Wilder had 136 tackles and 19 sacks as a linebacker and defensive end.

McMurphy is a respected reporter who has been covering college athletics for a long time. According to his FanHouse bio, he joined the Internet sports news outlet in 2009 as a senior college football and basketball writer. Before that he spent 22 years at The Tampa Tribune and he has been covering college athletics since 1992. He still lives in Tampa.

Should Wilder choose Georgia, he’ll become the third straight high-profile recruit to come to Athens from the Tampa’s powerhouse program. Sophomore tight end Orson Charles and redshirt freshman quarterback Aaron Murray, both of whom have been heavily involved in recruiting Wilder for the Bulldogs, also starred at Plant.

Wilder’s news conference is going be televised by the Bright House Sports Network (Ch. 47), a Tampa-based cable television outfit. They’re producing a 30-minute show that will precede the announcement called “James Wilder Jr.: The Decision.”

328 comments Add your comment

tckr83

August 17th, 2010
11:38 pm

If true, it makes sense considering he wants to play RB and UGA’s pro-style offense is catered toward a big, bruising rusher. Nick Waisome (4* # 8 CB in nation) and Wilder are good friends and for a while have been toying with the idea of going to the same school… I believe Waisome is committing tomorrow as well… I guess we’ll see!

Go Dawgs

Jimmy

August 17th, 2010
11:39 pm

This would be great. Come on to Athens Mr. Wilder!

Glory Glory

August 17th, 2010
11:44 pm

FSU and UF are all over Twitter in sheer panic tonight.

I sure hope this is true, but I will not celebrate until I see him with that BEAUTIFUL longated Georgia “G” on his head at 5pm tomorrow.

GO DAWGS!!!

Flo-Ri-Duh!

August 17th, 2010
11:47 pm

Don’t count your chickens before they hatch. It does make sense that Wilder would pass on Florida because of the pass oriented offense there. It will be FSU or Georgia.

MB

August 17th, 2010
11:47 pm

If this is true how will it shake out with Mr. Crowell

Glory Glory

August 17th, 2010
11:47 pm

And welcome Tech fans…….. Let’s hear you bash this young man……

Terry Pendleton

August 17th, 2010
11:50 pm

the all important 7th

TampaGator

August 17th, 2010
11:54 pm

According to all the Tampa TV stations, Wilder is a Bulldog. Really does make sense if he wants to play RB. He fits Georgia’s system a lot better. But I am surprised that he picked Georgia over FSU. It was known all over Gainesville this weekend that Florida had dropped out of the picture for Wilder (the Gator coaches wanted him to play LB). Also… Nick Waisome is saying he is going to “surprise everyone” with his choice tomorrow….he has been a Florida lean for a long time….but maybe he is headed to Georgia with Wilder….or even FSU who has made a strong push for him lately. Wilder going to Georgia will probably open the door back up for Bellemy for the Gators…who is a better RB fit for them. I hope so. Plant is becoming UGA/Tampa. Too bad for Gator fans.

LeftCoastDawg

August 17th, 2010
11:56 pm

That sure would be strange to see a 6′5, 240 lb guy in the backfield if he does continue to grow.

TampaGator

August 17th, 2010
11:59 pm

Glory Glory…..

I don’t know any Gator fans that are panicing over Wilder not coming to Gainesville. The Gators are loaded at RB and will add two more top RBs this year. Wilder would have been a great LB for the Gators however. But no Gator fan is panicing with all the very young talent on the Gator roster….and the commits the Gators already have this year and will be getting in the future. Florida will have a top 5 recruiting class again. Georgia might get the top class this year. But no class can come close to the class Florida signed last year….and just got better with the announced transfer of Chris Martin to the Gators. It just means you will be able to put up a better battle against the Gators in the future. Panic would be Meyer retiring again….and I did feel panic at the end of last year. Not about Wilder.

TampaGator

August 18th, 2010
12:00 am

Flo-ri-Duh……

Wilder is a Dawg. Done deal.

Rusty

August 18th, 2010
12:01 am

BS about UF wanting him to play LB. They were planning to tailor their offense around this kid! UF is great at tailoring their offense around individual players.

Rusty

August 18th, 2010
12:03 am

Still very surprising. UGA seemed like an also ran just a couple of weeks ago…

Hunker Down

August 18th, 2010
12:04 am

Hope this is not the case of picking up the wrong hat first. Hope it is true but regardless the young man should have a stellar college career and wish him where no matter. Go Dawgs!

Mountain Dawg

August 18th, 2010
12:06 am

Well, let’s see here…We’ve (maybe) got a good linebacker who wants to play RB in college Sounds like we’re getting another Richard Samuels.

Hunker Down

August 18th, 2010
12:07 am

opps…that should be “well no matter”

BKBroila4224

August 18th, 2010
12:08 am

Wilder is a Monsta….He is going to be a beast and UGA is proud to have him…Go Dawgs!

Glory Glory

August 18th, 2010
12:09 am

TampaGator…

You make a lot of sense in everything you say. I just did a search for the words “James Wilder” on Twitter and he is blowing up like Paul Johnson’s belt after Thanksgiving dinner. Maybe I used the term “panicing” wrong, but there are def some upset UF fans. UGA is on the rise, again…. We know it, UF knows it, and GT denies it.

Thanks for your insight reporting. Looking forward to the (hopefully) official announcement tomorrow.

Brian

August 18th, 2010
12:09 am

Tampa Gator, you really seem to know your stuff. You’re right about Florida not panicking though, Florida is going to have a ton of talent even without him and possibly without Waisome. Hopefully getting Wilder will help us land some other elite players, though it could hurt our chances with Crowell. Hopefully we can give you guys a good game this year, instead of not even showing up.

GODAWGS

August 18th, 2010
12:10 am

Hopefully this is true and Waisome follows suit

heavy g

August 18th, 2010
12:14 am

Don’t come back here with your civility, Tampa Gator. You’re an NTAC who’s now eating serious crow re. JWJr. Choke on it.

Sven Ottke

August 18th, 2010
12:15 am

Now it’s F$U.

Hunker Down

August 18th, 2010
12:16 am

Hey Tampa,

I don’t know if this is a done deal yetGet back to me in Febuary. But still regardless of the outcome why are you so wishy washy. Several weeks back Wilder was boss gator in your opinion and a lock to the gators. He was the second coming to the gators in seemed from all your rhetoric. You even said he was going to committ on Friday night lights. You mentioned about a transfer player that had x number of sacks for USC that never played a down. It was hs ball you were gaining your facts. Now Wilder is okay it sounds to you but UF is in much better position now that he is not committing to the gators. Give me a break and spill your rhetoric somnewhere that it is appreciated even when you are blantantly mistaken.

Red Dog 77

August 18th, 2010
12:24 am

I posted two weeks ago, after Mr. Wilder and Mr. Crowell with families in tow, took an extended visit to Athens Georgia, that you may well see both suit-up in the RED and BLACK for the 2011 season. To me it makes perfect sense. Come 2011, Ealey will be a JR. and very well could be his last season as a BULLDOG. I think mabe these two talented RBs have done their homework and realize coach Mark Richt would use them in tandem rotating them so that #1, they will each have enough touches to impress NFL scouts, and #2 less wear and tear on their bodies = a longer stint in the NFL………..Yup, I’m a GEORGIA BULLDOG fan, and proud of it………but really this makes perfect sense if you are Wilder and Crowell………and don’t be surprised if Nick Waisome tags along for the ride……..the depth chart at corner would surely alow him a chance for substancial pt his FR. year……………call it the “Dream Team” or whatever, but the air sure smells sweet about now if you luves yu some GEEEOOOOORRRRGIA BULLDOGS…….SIC’ ‘EM WOOF……WOOF……WOOF !!!!!!!!!

tckr83

August 18th, 2010
12:31 am

Wilder’s already had one “fake” commitment and it was corrected soon thereafter… this one has yet to be corrected by the Wilder camp. I don’t know if that means anything or not…

Florida recruited Wilder as a linebacker first and foremost, possibly trying to work him into the offense here and there with a special wrinkle added. That’s well known.

haters are skaters

August 18th, 2010
12:34 am

not sure which i dislike more….

guys who try to coin the thought/comparison of wilder to samuel or guys who consider themself a uga fan but don’t even know the names of the players they cheer for.

lucky for me “Mountain Dawg” covers both

Gatorbred

August 18th, 2010
12:41 am

UF did recruit Wilder as a LB originally and throughout most of his recruitment, but changed a few months ago to being open about RB. UF coaches sincerely feel that Wilder’s best position and future is at LB though. Regardless, he is a stud athlete and whichever school lands him, is getting a five star athlete. I think Waisome is UF/FSU battle, but who knows.

not florida

August 18th, 2010
12:45 am

gatorbred,

you may be the only guy in america to ever reference meyer and sincere in the same sentence.

Gdawg in Yankee-Land

August 18th, 2010
12:48 am

I keep having Richard Samuel flashbacks……..Five stars, two way player who was a bit large for RB. While Samuel’s may yet prove to be an excellent LB, he never really panned out at RB.

cadawg

August 18th, 2010
12:51 am

tampagator: i’ll believe it when i see it. i just talked a friend and bama fan off the ledge today; he was convinced they were going to lose 4 games. i guess my point is that it’s easy to be optimistic when it isn’t your team. that said, i’m encouraged that no one has come out to contradict the report.

i would love it if we could steal wilder AND waisome; that’s a shot across the bow of the gator warship if there ever was one. of course, getting the kids is one thing and getting them to play well on saturday is quite another. here’s hoping our staff get both those jobs done. GATA boys!

da

August 18th, 2010
12:54 am

you are either a gator or gator bait. With or without wilder gators would get two elite running backs. In the case of waisome he would be welcome in gainsville, if he choose not to come there is marcus roberson and charles jackson. In any situations Myer and Co have thing covered. Case close.

UGA owns you tasty bees..

August 18th, 2010
1:08 am

Wow, tampa gator is being *somewhat* humble as he eats that big tasty bowl of crow, and hardly ANY UF fans on here blasting off about how he’s a UF “lock”, and blah blah blah. UF better stay outta Tampa Plant, b/c no matter what state that pipeline school resides in, its STILL Bulldog Country!!! Oh yea, and lemme hear it techies, about how he would be a *perfect fit* at B-back for your sluggish and simple minded program.. C’mon, anytime now..

cadawg

August 18th, 2010
1:11 am

hunkerdown: c’mon bro, lay off tampagator. we’ve all said some dumb s*** on this board, but tampagator is generally informed and respectful.

notice tide roll’s absence from any message board that doesn’t involve bean anderson, chris burnette, or cam newton.

HugoStiglitz

August 18th, 2010
1:17 am

Looks like a good pickup for the Dawgs. Im still not sold on him as a running back but with his talent and athleticism, even if running back doesnt work out he will find a place to contribute. I didnt think he would leave the state of Florida so kudos to UGA recruiting for making it happen.

haters are skaters

August 18th, 2010
1:28 am

forget the richard samuel comparisons. look at the size of wilder. where are the brandon jacobs comparisons???

Hunker Down

August 18th, 2010
1:42 am

Cadawg
Point taken! K, I am chillin now. Just stated because I know it takes a tremdous amount of talent to make it at this level of play, D1. I think Wilder, obviously great genes for football, is going to be a very special player for some University. As a former player many moons ago I could only wish to be as good as I was no where remotely close. Just chafs me when someone doesn’t get a player and then all of a sudden the change and new outlook on them. Not saying Wilder will or will not sign LOI in Febuary with the Dawgs but I sure for one would welcome him with open arms. By the way when Dexter Morant checked out of camp and some of the so called UGA fans starting bashing him I let them know my feelings as well and most likely these individuals never played even hs ball. No one gets them all and when you don’t get one just say hey great University you picked and you will do great. Not alright that is great news cause we got a better chance of getting Belamy or this other kid now that we really prefer. Thats just sour grapes and a smoke screen. Go Dawgs!

TampaDawg

August 18th, 2010
1:53 am

First of all thank you for your respect TampaGator, its nice to see. I had thought he was a UF lean but it does make sense from the pro style offense that UGA has and even FSU runs the spread, just not as affective ad UF’s version. I also don’t believe UF is worrying too much about this especially since how great their recruiting classes have been lately. If Wilder does commit to the Dawgs how does this affect Crowell, and especially Wright who already says he favors Auburn over everyone else at this point. Should be interesting.

Hunker Down

August 18th, 2010
1:55 am

PS LOL about Roll tide regarding Bean Anderson and company. You sir are exactly right on that one!

SEC Fact Finder

August 18th, 2010
3:00 am

Wilder is committing to UGA…..a GREAT 5 Star player..will contribute right away…could probably start in the UGA backfield today if he was on campus…congrats UGA Fans.

This does throw a monkey wrench into the Crowell and Quay recruitment..I know these die hard Dawg fans will get mad…but this will pull back the curtain on Crowell alot….it may open Auburn back into the picture….but more than any team it puts Alabama more up front on him after the Wilder decision. UGA SHOULD jump up a couple of spots on the recruiting rankings..

Bray may be closer to UGA..he is more of a scat back or flanker..this commitment does little to change that. Bray transfered to Troup and with a couple of Troup players already on the roster it may make things easier for UGA….his relative Charlie Flowers is now the head coach at Troup and Charlie is well connected with every SEC coach as well as Paul Johnson at GT, give or take Vandy. Charlie Strong and Flowers are real tight as well as JOKER at Kentucky…

As of today and this news: Wilder to UGA
Crowell to Alabama
Bray to UGA , GT or Louisville..just my guess ..no inside info…just looking at past multiple running back commitments in recent years….Wilder and Crowell will not want to compete in an offense that limits it running game and in recent times been about 60=40 pass.

nolanole9

August 18th, 2010
3:08 am

I have sources that say James Wilder Jr has informed UF and UGA coaches he will attend FSU

JakeBlank

August 18th, 2010
3:24 am

nolanole is right, this whole UGA story is misinformation J-Dub Jr. will actually be suiting up for the Noles when its all said and done, take it to the bank.

GrantParkGator

August 18th, 2010
3:46 am

Fanhouse.com is almost as ahead of bleacher report when it comes to BS recruiting info….Don’t get your hopes up Dawgs because JWJ is headed to FSU. Hell none of the Rivals or Scout guys for UGA would even get on behind this story. His father was in Gainesville meeting with Meyer and Drayton about him committed to FSU. Hate to say we lost this one but atp JWJ is a Nole.

tckr83

August 18th, 2010
4:04 am

SEC FACT finder…

Where you getting your facts man? I checked back to 2004 and EVERY year UGA has run more plays than they’ve passed, its not even close. 60-40 run. FSU has passed more than they’ve run the ball in 4 of those same 6 seasons… 60-40 pass. There are PLENTY of carries for both Wilder and Crowell… After all, they did both visit UGA at the same time…

Wilder signing doesn’t necessarily mean anything to Crowell’s possible future with UGA… how many RB duo’s have there been under Richt at UGA? Answer is more than a few. A bigger factor with Crowell, is the transfer of Crowell’s former high school teammate, Jarvis Jones, from Southern Cal to UGA. Wilder can take comfort in the fact that if the whole RB thing doesn’t work at UGA, the LB spot is the most glamorous position in the new 3-4 defense that UGA is installing…

Just holding feet to the fire here. Whoever gets Wilder is getting a football player and wherever he goes, I wish him good luck… the poor kid had to change his cell phone number this week because he was getting so stressed out. I think he’s ready to commit and get this over with, maybe for good.

tckr83

August 18th, 2010
4:16 am

If you had said, that in recent years opposing offenses had been passing at a rate of 60-40 on UGA’s defense… THAT, I would agree with you on! Willie Martinez… uggh.

willieg loves the bulldogs

August 18th, 2010
5:06 am

MR. JAMES WILDER JOINING UGA WILL HELP US GET ANOTHER NC SO COME TO UGA AND RUN JAMES RUN .

aw

August 18th, 2010
5:57 am

The entire nation of woofers is dancing for joy… James, its not too late to change your mind. Over the past 7 years the woofers have had plenty of quality players like you, but for some reason the teams never, and i mean never, live up to what is expected of them by their fans and the entire football world. Your 5 stars will not be cultivated in athens….Go to the Gators, at least they do what is expected….Florida and the woofers have been neck and neck over the past 10years in recruiting, but look at the diff in results….You will make the wrong choice picking the woofers, and they will also teach you how to get in trouble….too bad….

Paddy

August 18th, 2010
6:04 am

FSU has a nice little team but not in the class of UF & UGA. Jimbo will get them there but not as fast as everyone is expecting. They still have some defensive issues and losing two starters for the year due to suspensions has not helped. Wilder would play quicker at FSU but he would be best served as a Dawg!

Destin Dawg

August 18th, 2010
6:07 am

Very favorable winds blowing in USA “s #1 college town… these kids know Richt is sincere.. and tries his best to see them do well in school, life, pro ball…. now we got a super group of coaches on DDDEEEEE.. Richt can coach up his QB’s… next few years will be fun for UGA FB fans like me !!!!

Gator Bob

August 18th, 2010
6:11 am

If true – good pick up for UGA. Can’t get them all – and agree with one of the posts above – is this kid the next Richard Samuel???? If Samuel had reported to play LLB – he might be starting versus taking up oxygen on the sideline. Hope the best for this kid = even if he goes to FSU or UGA!

Kock Blockin Dawg

August 18th, 2010
6:15 am

I would rather have Crowell !