RECRUITING: Wilson Has List Of Ten Schools

Tim Tebow is no longer the star attraction at Nease High School but that doesn't mean the college football recruiters won't be making the Ponte Vedra Beach school a primary stopping place. Tebow was the All-American boy, a do-everything quarterback that led Nease to its first ever state title. Now that he's gone on to the University of Florida, it is James Wilson, a huge offensive tackle, who has the recruiters flocking to St. John's County.

(See James Wilson profile)

Name the school and Wilson probably has an offer. He doesn't have to worry about a scholarship to play football at the next level so he's just concentrating on his studies and doing what he can for a team that lost 10 starters to graduation. Wilson might be asked to be more than just a blocker in the Nease offense in the fall.

"We are still working hard trying to get another state championship," the 6-5, 310-pound Wilson said. "I am the only returning starter on the whole offense. I think Coach may get me a few plays at tight end. I want the ball."

That do-anything attitude is just one of the reasons one college coach after another is making a pitch to get Wilson's attention. Despite all the exposure, he seems to be taking all the attention in stride.

"I am just trying to take a step back from it [recruiting] right now but I will try and have a top five by the end of spring," said Wilson. "A lot of coaches are coming by school but I am trying to stay focused and still get my studies done."

Size is an obvious attribute but what separates Wilson from most top prospects is his quick feet. His mobility allows him to be a blocking force in the running game downfield.

"My athleticism and getting out on the corner and hitting the cornerbacks and free safeties to spring the running backs are what I do best," he said. "Mainly it's my athleticism. I probably play like Max-Jean Gilles (former Georgia lineman)."

Right now, he has 10 schools on a favorite's list that he says could change at any minute: Ohio State, Michigan, Florida, Alabama, Notre Dame, Wake Forest, Georgia, Southern Cal, Colorado and Miami.

At a few of these schools, there are connections. For example, Ohio State is in the running right now because, "My uncle played for Youngstown State when Coach (Jim) Tressel was there."

Wake Forest makes the list because "Hunter Haynes was a linebacker here last year. He went to Wake Forest. I wasn't really that interested but I went up there and the coaches and everything are really on the rise in that program."

He also has a real connection to USC even though it is all the way on the left coast.

"I was at Southern Cal at Christmas time because my father lives out there," he said. "My dad wants me close but he tells me I need to go get the best education possible."

The University of Florida, of course, has a big pull with Wilson. It's the closest school but also where Tebow signed.

"Tim (Tebow) and I were real close," Wilson said. "He took me on all the visits he went to. He was a great leader for us and I love his family and we are real close. He bugs me to come to see him in Gainesville more and I will probably go down and see him a lot more this summer.

"I went down (to Gainesville) one weekend this spring to stay with him. My teammate Clyde Yandell will probably be going to camp down there and I will probably go with him to get a better feel for Gainesville."

He has been to four campuses, Wake Forest, Clemson, South Carolina, and Florida.

The phone is ringing off the hook, but Wilson is having a good time with the process. Some of the coaches are a little more wild than the other, but most all have been fun to talk to.

"I have a few wild coaches that talk to me," he said. "Coach (Urban) Meyer and Coach (Greg) Mattison are crazy. I will never hear the end of it if I don't text Coach Mattison back. Coach Hawkins at CU (Colorado) and a couple of others are all great guys."

With only two weeks until he trims his list down to five, Wilson has two main criteria he is seeking in his school of choice.

"I want to get an education and I want a good relationship with the coaches," he said.

James Wilson will be one of the most talked about prospects on the class of 2007. He's got size, quick feet and intelligence, a good combination and the reason he's on everybody's most wanted list.


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