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The latest on college sports in Florida

James Wilder Jr. switching to linebacker to try to stick in NFL




Talk to high school coaches around Tampa Bay, and they'll tell you that James Wilder Jr. was a fine running back, but he was one of the best defensive players this area has ever seen.\

So maybe it's not a surprise that the former Plant High star has announced that he's officially switching to linebacker to try to stick in the NFL.

Wilder - the son of the former Bucs star running back - had a productive career as a running back at Florida State. He rushed for 20 touchdowns (then tied for ninth-most in program history) and was the MVP of the 2012 ACC title game. He was a part of the Seminoles' 2013 national title team and earned honorable mention all-ACC honors in his third and final season there, before leaving early for the NFL.

That hasn't quite worked out yet, at least not in the backfield. He spent the 2014 season on the Bengals' practice squad and the 2015 season on the Bills' practice squad. He was injured and waived from Buffalo in September.

So now comes his announcement that Wilder will try playing linebacker, not running back. We'll see if the change finally keeps one of the best high school players in Tampa Bay history in the league.


[Last modified: Friday, January 13, 2017 9:13am]


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