Wilder shows skills, delays commitment
Hart, Wilder II among the many to turn heads at the Nike 7On championships
BEAVERTON, Ore. -- Originally, James Wilder II (Tampa, Fla./Plant) was planning to make his college decision before the beginning of football season.
Things have changed.
Citing a desire to take all five of his visits and see each of his favorite schools in action, Wilder has decided to wait until the season is over or even as late as national signing day to commit.
"There's a lot going on, and I really haven't seen all the schools I'm interested in," Wilder said. "So I want to take some visits and do my homework before making any decisions."
Wilder will take visits to LSU and Miami in the upcoming weeks and most likely will head to Florida for its Friday Night Lights camp.
Florida State, Alabama, Georgia and Georgia Tech are also on his list of contenders.
The 6-foot-2, 220-pound five-star linebacker mostly played defense during the Nike 7On tournament but has said that he is leaning toward playing running back in college and has hinted that the program he chooses will have to allow him that opportunity.
"There has to be trust because once you sign that letter, the program can do with you what they want," Wilder said. "Right now I'm going to sit back and see how the schools I'm looking at use big backs in their running game."
Youth gone wild
While many of the nation's top seniors were on display at the tournament, it was also a great opportunity to see some of the nation's top underclassmen on display.
As quarterback J.W. Walsh (Denton, Texas/John H. Guyer) watched highly touted teammates Josh Stewart and Quint Gardner go down with minor injuries, he leaned on juniors Lance Cullum and Connor Crane to pick up the slack.
"Everyone talks about Q and Josh, but you saw a lot of young guys step up when they had to miss some plays," Walsh said. "They took advantage of their opportunities and kept the offense moving."
Hart keeps us guessing
Four-star running back Demetrius Hart (Orlando, Fla./Dr. Phillips) did a lot of talking with his performance at the tournament making a number of highlight-reel catches. But when it came to talking about his recruitment, Hart had nothing to say.
Although he appears to be down to Auburn and Michigan, he didn't want to commit to those two schools.
"I wouldn't say those are the final two," Hart said. "Because I'm still open, I haven't committed yet."
So there are more schools out there in which Hart is interested?
"Not exactly," Hart said.
Henderson, Sumler show their skills
The Nike SPARQ Rating National Championship also took place at the event, allowing players to compete for top honors in the 40-yard dash, shuttle run, medicine ball throw and vertical jump, as well as determining the top overall athlete.
In the 40-yard dash, Tacoi Sumler (Miami/Christopher Columbus) ran a 4.24-second time to edge speedster Damiere Byrd (Sicklerville, N.J./Timber Creek), who posted a 4.28.
Sumler also won the shuttle event with a 3.90 and finished ninth in the overall standings.
Bridgewater goes back-to-back Tournament MVP and Miami commit Teddy Bridgewater headlined the all-tournament team along with Northwestern (Miami) teammates Eli Rogers and James Davis. Other members of the team were Guyer's Walsh, Gardner and Stewart; Hart (Dr. Phillips); George Farmer and Marqise Lee (Gardena, Calif./Serra); Shane Wynn, Evonte Dunn and Devon Bogard (Cleveland/Glenville); Eric Amoako (Arlington, Texas/Martin); Kris Frost (Matthews, N.C./Butler) and Wilder II (Plant).
Corey Long has been covering high school football and recruiting in the Sunshine State since 1995. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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