The title of this article is probably one of the most obvious statements blazing up college football pages all over the internet right now. Wilder is easily one of the most famous recruits in the 2011 class and his popularity is not limited to recruiting services and fans. Much like Treasure Coast product and FSU freshman Jeff Luc, Wilder is extremely popular among the other recruits in his class. Rest assured, coaches are aware when a kid they recruit has a strong influence on other players in their class.
So just how big of a land is this for Jimbo Fisher and the Seminoles? For Fisher, it continues to prove that he and his staff know what they’re doing on the recruiting trail. Florida State has consistently filled needs with quality talent since Fisher arrived in Tallahassee. Wilder’s commitment could help to bring in a lot of the other big fish on FSU’s board like TE Nick O’Leary, DE Ray Drew and LB Tony Steward to name a few. Another significant piece of this story is the fact that many consider this to be a steal from rival UF. Wilder grew up a childhood fan of the University of Florida but chose FSU instead. This is a pain that many Seminole fans know all to well, as in recent history the rival Gators have been able to secure commitments from childhood Seminoles. Other things to take away from the Wilder commitment:
-RB Coach Eddie Gran proves his worth and lives up to his reputation on the recruiting trail. As little as a month ago, it would’ve been close to impossible to convince a Seminole fan that follows recruiting that James Wilder Jr. would commit to FSU. Securing a commitment like this makes it difficult to rule Florida State out with a star recruit if they really want him.
-James Wilder Jr. and the running back vs. linebacker debate. The popular belief is that James Wilder is a better prospect at linebacker than he is at running back. While that belief is probably accurate, it should not be taken to mean that he isn’t a phenomenal running back. With good coaching, which FSU has in RB Coach Eddie Gran and the proper work, Wilder has the athleticism to be successful at whatever position he ends up playing in college. Wilder is rated as the #1 athlete by rivals recruiting service, #2 by ESPN and #1 OLB by scout.com. He is truly an elite athlete.
-Wilder now has the opportunity to help Florida State’s other top 2011 commitment, S Karlos Williams, recruit and convince the other top targets on the Seminole board to pledge a commitment to FSU. It should not surprise anyone if Wilder and Williams help Fisher and company put the full court press on big name prospects like LB Tony Steward, DE Ray Drew and TE Nick O’Leary in the weeks to come. Wilder and Williams could both be considered the official “bellcows” of the 2011 recruiting cycle for FSU.
As mentioned above, Wilder will be a huge plus for the Seminoles on either side of the ball. He has elite athleticism, an NFL lineage and by all accounts, excellent work ethic. Jimbo Fisher has a history of using big, bruising running backs in his offense and Wilder would represent the first elite talent that fits that mold he has recruited to the position since arriving at Florida State. Should Wilder end up on defense, he has the ability that would immediately make the Seminole linebacking corp one of, if not the best LB unit in the nation with the talent hauled in during 2010 and potentially 2011 class as well. The FSU can’t comment on Wilder’s commitment until he has signed or enrolled at FSU, but you can bet your bottom dollar they are quite excited about this one.