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Report: Florida State's James Wilder Jr. turning pro


Florida State junior running back James Wilder Jr. will make himself available for the 2014 draft, ESPN reported Tuesday afternoon.

Wilder is one of 10 key FSU underclassmen who was said to be considering a jump to the NFL.

Wilder (6-foot-2, 229 pounds) wasn't an overly productive college player, rushing for 1,358 yards and 20 TDs in his three seasons. He had 563 yards and eight TDs as FSU's third-leading rusher this season, behind fellow juniors Devonta Freeman and Karlos Williams, who moved to tailback from safety early in the season.

A superb athlete, Wilder is a tough, physical runner with good straight-ahead speed, but he's not a shifty guy; instead, he runs over people. Wilder looked to be developing into a competent receiver last season, but he had just three receptions this fall. In addition, he never had to deal with a heavy workload. In 39 career games, he carried the ball at least 15 times just once and had only eight games with double-digit carries.

Wilder also has had off-field issues and was arrested three times for minor offenses between February 2012 and January 2013.

Wilder was one of the nation's biggest recruits in 2011. Some schools liked him as a linebacker, others, including FSU, envisioned him as a big, bruising tailback. While there's no denying his physical talent, he didn't live up to the recruiting billing.

Wilder's dad was a productive NFL running back for Tampa Bay in the 1980s.

Mike Huguenin can be reached at You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.

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