Friday, January 19, 2018
Colleges

FSU's Wilder weighing career options

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. — Florida State running back James Wilder Jr. said he is still considering whether to leave college a year early to declare for this spring's NFL draft.

The former Plant High standout and five-star recruit said he thought a lot about a potential pro career during the monthlong layoff since the ACC title game.

"That's everybody's dream," said Wilder, the son of former Bucs star James Wilder.

"You're going to 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."

Wilder is regarded as one of the top high school players in Tampa Bay history, but he hasn't dominated in Tallahassee.

The 6-foot-2, 229-pound junior has scored 20 touchdowns in three seasons and is averaging only 35 rushing yards per game. He ran for 542 yards this season, third on the team behind juniors Devonta Freeman and Karlos Williams.

Wilder said he plans to meet with his coaches and family after Monday's BCS championship game against Auburn to talk about what round he might be drafted in and what another year with the Seminoles could do for his draft stock.

"Everybody would love to finish like this," Wilder said of playing for a national title.

"If this will be my last year, it'll be great to finish like this. If I do one more year, do a repeat, that'll be even better."

California dreamin': The Seminoles' journey west is giving Alonso High alum Demonte McAllister his first trip to California.

The senior defensive tackle was recruited by USC, but he turned down an official visit.

"I was like, 'I don't want to take that flight,' " McAllister said. "It's so long. I don't really like flying on planes right now. I got used to it."

McAllister said his mother, aunt and girlfriend will be among the friends and family members taking that long flight to watch the title game at the Rose Bowl.

Shootout? Florida State and Auburn are averaging a combined 93 points a game, and both offenses rank among the top 10 nationally in points and yards.

Tigers coach Gus Malzahn said that doesn't mean the game will be a shootout.

Malzahn was Auburn's offensive coordinator in 2010-11, when the Tigers and Oregon were in the BCS title game with top-seven offenses. That game was supposed to be a high-scoring affair, too, but Auburn had to churn out a 22-19 win.

"As a coach, you just got to be ready for all the what ifs and be able to adjust," Malzahn said.

Today's schedule: Malzahn and FSU coach Jimbo Fisher will address reporters in morning news conferences before holding closed walk-through practices. Both squads are also scheduled to take team pictures at the Rose Bowl.

Times staff writer Matt Baker can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @MattHomeTeam.

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