Are the Dogs Getting Wilder about O'Neal?

Carthage High School wide receiver O'Neal Wilder once believed his ticket to college would be basketball. Somehow he was convinced to come out for football as a junior. The 6'4'' speedster began to make a name for himself as a game breaking wide receiver. Everyone knew Wilder had the size and speed, but could he catch? Eight games into his senior season the answer appears to be a resounding yes!

O'Neal Wilder Profile Page

Wilder and the Carthage Tigers are 7-1 on the 2006 campaign. The Tigers knew they had a bona fide weapon in All-State player Antonio Ricks, but a quality bookend would pay huge dividends for Coach Lucovich's offense.

To date O'Neal has ten touchdowns and has proven to have a penchant for the big play. Wilder is averaging just over forty-four yards per score including a sixty-seven yard reception, a fifty-five yard run and an eighty-two yard kickoff return.

As a junior, O'Neal had eighteen catches for 428 yards and four touchdowns. Numbers he has has easily surpassed as a senior. With two regular season games left as well as some opportunities in the playoffs, O'Neal could garner some post-season awards himself.

Despite being a relative newcomer on the radar of college recruiters, Wilder's instate schools were not shy about getting a foot in the door early. Southern Miss and Mississippi State have continued to show interest in possibly signing Wilder.

"It's pretty much the same schools that have been calling," said O'Neal. "Coach Hopson from Southern Miss has not called in a couple of weeks. I hear from Coach Stringer about three or four times a week. He sends me a lot of text messages and we talk."

Wilder's high school coach prepared some senior video highlights for the Bulldog staff and put them in the hands of O'Neal's recruiting coach, Reed Stringer.

"He told me he has watched a game of mine that someone gave him a copy of," explained Wilder. "He said he is waiting for Coach Croom to watch my video. He told me they are probably going to offer."

Speaking of Coach Croom, O'Neal has had the chance to speak with the head man himself recently.

"I have talked to Coach Croom a couple of times," said Wilder. "I talked to him this past Saturday. He told me that he really likes me and things like that. He is nice to talk too. He is talking pretty good."

O'Neal has been to a few of Mississippi State's home games this season. Recently the talented Wilder got the chance to experience the gameday atmosphere at Ole Miss.

"It went well," said O'Neal. "Me and Antonio Ricks and Zeerika Hall went up there to see a game. They are talking to me about track, so I wanted to go up there and check it out. We had a good time."

Wilder picked up a track scholarship offer from Mississippi State and MSU track coach Steve Dudley some time ago. Despite the Bulldogs possibly offering soon in football, Wilder still is unsure of his college plans.

"If they offer it would be good, but I would still probably wait until January until after the bowl games and see what happens," explained O'Neal. "I may get some other offers, so we will just have to wait and see."

Stay with for the latest on O'Neal's college decision.

Steve Robertson covers college football recruiting in the state of Mississippi and beyond. You can contact him by emailing

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