Florida State running back and former Plant High star James Wilder Jr. is turning pro.
Less than four days after helping FSU win its third national title, the 6-foot-2, 229-pound Wilder announced via Instagram that he will forgo his senior season to enter the NFL Draft:
“I wanna first thank GOD my family the whole nole nation and nole fam my brothers my coaches for being able to put me in a blessed situation to be able to continue my dream on to the next level and being able to enter the NFL..I had the best 3 years of my life being a nole and will always be a nole at heart that being said GO NOLES!!!!!”
Wilder, the son of the Bucs’ all-time leading rusher, James Wilder, entered FSU as one of the country’s top prospects.
The five-star recruit earned two-time all-Suncoast defensive player of the year honors from the Tampa Bay Times. As a senior at Plant, he rushed for 1,600 yards and 22 touchdowns and recorded eight sacks.
Wilder earned honorable-mention all-ACC honors this season, and he ran three times for 21 yards in a thrilling 34-31 win over Auburn that gave the Seminoles their third national championship. He was FSU’s third-leading rusher, finishing the season with 583 yards on 81 carries.
Wilder ends his collegiate career with 1,358 rushing yards and 22 total touchdowns.
Last week, he said he was strongly considering leaving school early and that he thought about the NFL a lot over winter break.
“That’s everybody’s dream,” Wilder told the Times last week in the days leading up to Monday’s BCS championship game. “You’re gonna think about it when you’re watching the games, you think about that being you on the field and stuff like that. You definitely think about it before you go to sleep, staring at the ceiling.”