So. Fla. LB Names Two Favorites

At 6-foot-1 and 235 pounds, Miami (Fla.) Carol City standout linebacker Vernon Wilder has been battling shoulder problems for most of his prep career. Until now.

Wilder had surgery on a shoulder that had ligament damage earlier this spring, which caused him to miss some camps and spring practice.

"It was tough because I wasn't able to do much," Wilder said. "I wasn't able to really do anything at the NIKE Camp and I couldn't play in the spring. I wanted to but wasn't able."

One camp Wilder was able to attend was the Rutgers camp at Columbus H.S. last week.

"That was fun," he said. "We learned some things and I had fun. Me, Willie [Williams], and [Jarrell] Guyton from Edison were in a group and we were dominating."

Wilder, whose 860 SAT score makes him a full academic qualifier, didn't start playing football until ninth grade.

"I was into basketball and baseball," he said. "I didn't like football until then."

Now Wilder is one of the top linebackers in Dade County. He finished last season with 90 solo tackles, three caused fumbles, and one interception.

Wilder, whose father and grandfather both played college football, is out to prove a point now that he's healthy again.

"My shoulder's straight now," he said. "It's about 100-percent and I'm ready to start playing again. We had something like 85 schools come in here through Carol City this spring and none of them got a chance to see me play because I had to sit out so I can't wait to show them what I got this season."

Wilder talked more about the recruiting process.

"My three offers are from Rutgers, Penn State, and Michigan State," he said. "My top five would be something like UM, Ohio State, Florida, LSU, and Georgia ... and Penn State."

The talented linebacker spoke to UM receivers coach Curtis Johnson recently.

"CJ told me they were interested," he said. "He invited me to their camp and I'll be going. Me, Willie [Williams], Akeem [Robinson], and little Chris [Strothers] are all going next Saturday. Hopefully there will be some other good linebackers there so I can see how I match up with them."

Wilder said the Hurricanes are one of his co-favorites at this point in the recruiting process.

"My favorite would be out of Ohio State or Miami," he said. "UM, I mean, that's UM. They're in Florida, the weather's great, the program, the players, the coaches, everything's there. But Ohio State is a good program too. They beat Miami for the national title last year and even before that they had good tradition. They have a big following and good coaches too."

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