Plant's James Wilder Jr. proving he can play anywhere in college



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Sat. December 12, 2009 | Eduardo A. Encina

During these high school playoffs, Plant junior James Wilder Jr. has taken the opportunity to show the state how great a talent he is.

As a running back, the 6-foot-2, 220-pounder runs strong, fast and can carry tacklers to a first-down marker. As a standup defensive end and outside linebacker, he causes chaos in the backfield.

Wilder could begin next season as the state's top prospect, but the major question will be where he will play in college.

"I really still can't decide right now," Wilder said this week. "I've always wanted to be a running back but I don't know."

And the top schools recruiting Wilder also differen on where he fits in best on the field. He said Miami is recruiting him to play running back, and he fits their big-back tradition well. Florida is recruiting him to play defensive end, and Tennessee believes he can be either a running back or inside linebacker.

As for his current favorite, he said it's Florida, but that's the only campus trip he's made so far.

"I really don't have anything to compare it to," Wilder said. "It's the best right now because it's the only one."

-- EDUARDO A. ENCINA (eencina@sptimes.com)

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