Florida State sophomore tailback James Wilder pleaded no contest to resisting arrest without violence, a misdemeanor after originally being charged with two felonies Feb. 22, Wednesday at the Leon Country Courthouse.
The Tampa native could return to the practice field as early as this afternoon, as it is school policy that a student-athlete can't participate in any team-related activities while in the middle of felony proceedings. Wilder missed the first nine sessions of spring drills, but there are still six to go ahead of the annual Garnet and Gold Game on April 14 at Doak Campbell Stadium.
The Seminoles hope the 6-2, 220-pounder can add some much needed punch to their ground game, which struggled for the majority of the 2011 season behind an offensive line that failed to open holes consistently. In addition to Wilder's absence this spring, fellow sophomore Devonta Freeman is sidelined with a herniated disc in his back and senior Chris Thompson is battling both back and hand problems, so FSU has been utilizing early-enrollee freshman Mario Pender and veteran fullbacks Lonnie Pryor and Debrale Smiley with the starters at the tailback position. Wilder wasn't a big part of the offense as a freshman, rushing 35 times for 160 yards and one touchdown, but bigger things are expected from him in Year 2.
Wilder was involved in an altercation with Leon Country police when officers came to his apartment to arrest Bianca Camarda, as he was allegedly "yelling obscenities" and then made physical contact with one of the officers.
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Said Wilder's attorney, Tim Jansen, "We've said from the very beginning that it was a miscommunication. James, his only role was to try and let the officer know that the lawyer had messed up his girlfriend's case. While in the meantime trying to portray that information and show a text to the officer, and the officer felt threatened. He apologized. He knew from the very beginning that he probably should not have interfered, but it was an emotional thing."
The son of former NFL tailback James Wilder was sentenced to six months of probation, nine days of jail work camp, anger management, a $225 fine and he must also write an apology to the officer involved, plus he is prohibited from having any contact with Camarda.
'Noles coach Jimbo Fisher was not originally scheduled to speak to the media after Wednesday's workout, but that could very well change given the development in the Wilder case.
John Crist is the editor-in-chief of NoleDigest.com, a Heisman Trophy voter and a member of the Football Writers Association of America.