July 23, 2013
By Scott Kotick (@ScottKotick), Seminoles.com
Today we continue counting down the thirteen players to watch for 2013 with junior running back James Wilder, Jr. There aren't too many backs in college football who not only like getting hit, but actually seek out opposing defenders to barrel over in the process.
Wilder is just that sort of player who is one of the most physically gifted running backs in the entire country. 2012 was a great season for the junior from Tampa, as he rushed for 635 yards and a team leading 11 touchdowns. He was even named the MVP of the ACC Championship Game as the Noles claimed their first league title since 2005.
He averaged 5.8 yards per carry last season and always seemed to make that jaw dropping play once per game that makes every sort of highlight reel. And at 6'2, 226 pounds, Wilder is a force to be reckoned with and is a nightmare for opposing defenses in short yardage situations and catching passes out of the backfield.
Both he and teammate Devonta Freeman were fantastic last year after Chris Thompson went down with a torn ACL and anchored a great running attack. This year, expect more of the same. With virtually the entire offensive line returning, the backs provide a great foundation for the offense and it will be both Wilder and Freeman's job to help take pressure off a brand new starting quarterback.
Look for Wilder to enjoy a great junior season, as he will certainly be the backbone for the Florida State offense to continue churning out yards on the ground and continue to cement themselves among the best in the country. And of course, you can always count on Wilder to deliver that bone jarring hit and make himself a staple on highlight reels in 2013.
Come back on Wednesday as we continue our 13 for 13 countdown with junior defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan.