Wilson Making an Impact

He was one of ten 5-star prospects in the 2007 class. To understand how long he has been in school at Florida, James Wilson signed in the same recruiting class as Pouncey, Pouncey, Rainey, Dunlap, Black, Henry, Haden, Trattou, Wright, Howard, and Thompson, all of which are now playing football in the National Football League and some going on three years. It has been a long road for the big guy.

James Wilson came to Florida as the highest rated offensive lineman in the recruiting class. An early injury and other setbacks caused his career to almost derail completely and kept him on the sideline for most of his five years on campus. In the end it was all worth it.

"Every athlete wants to have the miraculous four years or even three years and out, of course I did," Wilson said last week at Florida Media Day. "As an offensive lineman it is even less likely and then you throw on the injuries. Still, I wouldn't trade anything and would do it over again."

At the end of last year some injuries happened along the offensive line and the often banged up Wilson suddenly became one of the healthier players in the unit. Entering into the last two games, Wilson showed a lot of what made him maybe the most sought after lineman in the entire 2007 national recruiting class

"It was a great, a confidence builder," he said of the game time action. "I really just wanted to show the coaches that I wasn't just an old washed up player. Really, I just want to show that I can help the team this year and make that sixth year count."

He spent the offseason trying to make sure he gets the most out of his aching knees during the season. He did it through lower body strength building with the Florida strength and conditioning staff. The pain now is at a minimum and does not bother his day –to-day performance.

"I focused on lower body strength with Coach Dillman," he said. "That has always been my main thing with the injuries. I just need to keep up my cardio a lot to make sure I can finish plays.

"There are no issues that I have to go into the training room on a daily basis. I am always going to have an ailment with my knee but I can deal with it. If I didn't want to deal with it, I wouldn't be here."

Wilson has been around to enjoy the big successes that Florida has had in the recent past. He believes the last two seasons are behind them and that this Florida team will make some monumental steps forward as a program.

"I have been through some good times and bad times, last year wasn't up to Florida's standards," he said. "We all know that and really want to make sure it doesn't happen again."

I think anyone that watched the spring game saw that our offensive line and defensive line were tougher along with other places. We will back it up this season.

Florida head coach Will Muschamp has been building up the offensive line all offseason. Wilson believes this particular unit can be special.

"I think we can be as good if not better than the previous offensive lines," he said remembering the players mentioned above that are making money in the NFL. "I say that by going off of our spring and just how we came together. There are really no egos at all. As you know back in the day there were a lot of egos and there is none of that here with Coach Muschamp."

One reason the offensive line has improved is because fo the guys on the opposite side of the ball. Defensive linemen like Sharrif Floyd and Dominique Easley are preseason award candidates and have special attributes that make them tough to block and a blessing to learn against in practice every day.

"Their speed and explosiveness off the ball helps us," he said of the defensive line. "They are different than most players with that skill set. I think with the speed in the SEC it is what we need day in and day out. I have gone against Dunlap and some of those others and I think these guys are faster than any of them."

The unity on the offensive line is something synonymous with the team as well. It is a different year for the entire team.

"We can accomplish it all, we can win the whole thing," he said. "It is just a matter of us taking the steps to make things happen in camp and throughout the season. We have to take everything one day at a time."

And possibly helping them this year is the addition of two high school All-Americans. D.J. Humphries and Jessamen Dunker arrived at Florida in January and Wilson is in almost disbelief at how good the two are since their arrival.

"They are excited and it's competition every day," he said of the two. "They have amazing talent. Coming out of high school it's kind of ridiculous the evolution of players throughout my career. We expect them to compete and competition makes everyone better."

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