FSU's Wilder reinstated, joins practice
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – James Wilder Jr. had to wait an extra day but he hit the practice field for the first time this spring on Thursday – a day after he resolved his legal issues and was reinstated by the Florida State football team.
And coach Jimbo Fisher said it didn’t take long for Wilder to have an impact on Thursday.
“That big body running through there, it’s different,” Fisher said. “Picking up those blitzes – when he hits them it’s a little different animal. … The pounding he brings. He’s running well on the outside and caught a nice ball on the goal line for a touchdown.”
On Wednesday, the rising sophomore running back plead no contest to a misdemeanor charge of resisting arrest without violence, a reduction in the charges stemming from his Feb. 22 arrest in which Wilder was charged with obstructing a law enforcement officer without violence and battery on a law enforcement officer.
He has been placed on probation for six months, must take an anger management course, write a letter of apology to the arresting officer and pay court costs.
“He still has some work to do for me,” Fisher said. “We’ll get that taken care of.”
On Feb. 22, the Leon County deputies went to an apartment on Chapel Drive after Wilder's girlfriend, Bianca Camarda, failed to appear in court on a criminal mischief charge. Once a deputy placed Camarda in handcuffs and escorted her to the police car, Wilder allegedly told the deputy that she was not going to jail, stepped between the deputy and Camarda and pushed him.
The deputy threatened to use his Taser and advised Wilder that he "would be Tased if he continued to interfere." Wilder then began yelling obscenities at the deputy, the report said.
Wilder was not allowed to participate in team-related activities since the arrest and missed the first nine practices of the spring.
He ran for 160 yards and had a touchdown in 2011. The son of former Tampa Bay Buccaneers star James Wilder was named the state’s Mr. Football after his senior season at Tampa Plant High where he was a star at running back and linebacker.
Wilder’s return gives Florida more depth at running back this spring. The Seminoles were already without leading rusher Devonta Freeman (back), and Chris Thompson (back) saw limited carries as he returns from injury.
FSU has been leaning on Thompson, early enrollee Mario Pender and fullbacks like Lonnie Pryor and Debrale Smiley to run the ball this spring.
The Seminoles will hold their spring game on April 14 at 4 p.m. at Doak Campbell Stadium.