|Height: 5-11 | Weight: 196 | College: Clemson|
A dynamic athlete with blazing speed, Spiller has drawn favorable comparisons to the New Orleans Saints' Reggie Bush for his big-play ability. The Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year in 2009 -- Spiller was the first Tiger to earn that honor since Michael Dean Perry in 1987 -- he also became just the third unanimous All-American selection in school history.
Spiller is the type of player that needs to be accounted for anytime he steps on the football field. His pedigree as a ballcarrier is unquestioned. Even though he shared rushing duties with James Davis (Cleveland) during his first three seasons at Clemson, he ranks third in school annals with 3,547 yards and 32 rushing touchdowns. His 606 carries placed fourth on the Tigers' all-time record chart. Fifty of his rushing attempts were gains of at least 10 yards, including 31 runs that amassed 20 yards or longer.
As a pass catcher, Spiller hauled in 123 passes for 1,420 yards and 11 touchdowns. He is only the second ballcarrier in Clemson annals to gain over 1,000 yards receiving in a career, as he also established Tiger running back career-records for receptions and touchdown catches (11). As a senior, he became the first player in Atlantic Coast Conference history to rush for over 1,000 yards (1,212) and gain over 500 yards receiving (503) in the same season. He is also just the sixth ACC player to generate over 3,000 yards rushing and over 1,000 yards receiving in a career.
There is much more to Spiller's game that just his exploits coming out of the backfield. His total of eight kicks returned for touchdowns (seven kickoffs, one punt) tied the NCAA all-time record. His seven kickoff returns for scores set an NCAA mark, topping the previous record of six that was first established by Anthony Davis of Southern California (1972-74). He is one of only seven players in conference annals to gain over 2,000 yards via kickoff returns, totaling 2,052 yards.
Finding the end zone and putting points on the board is a commonplace for Spiller. He is one of just two players in Clemson history to account for a touchdown five different ways (punt return, kickoff return, reception, rush, and touchdown pass). He is the only ACC player to throw a scoring pass, catch a touchdown pass, and run for a score in the same game, accomplishing that feat vs. North Carolina State in 2009. As a senior, he was the only player in the nation to score at least one TD in every game.
The ACC's active scoring leader with 308 points, he is just the 16th player in conference history to score over 300 points in a career, ranking second on Clemson's all-time record chart. He had 21 career touchdowns of 50 yards or more; more than Tim Brown, Rocket Ismail, or Bush, similar types of players, had in their careers.
By the time he ended his Clemson career, Spiller set 31 school records in various categories, including the record for all-purpose yards and returns for touchdowns. He joined Southern California's Reggie Bush as the only players in college football history with 3,000 rushing yards, 1,500 kickoff-return yards, 1,000 receiving yards, and 500 punt-return yards.
Spiller joined receiver Jacoby Ford in becoming the most productive duo in NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision history. That duo accounted for a combined 11,671 all-purpose yards during their four years together at Clemson. The senior tailback set the conference and school career-records with 7,558 all-purpose yards, the second-best total in NCAA annals.
When he averaged 191.43 all-purpose yards per game in 2009, he broke an ACC record that was first set in 1968.
Virtually every service that hands out All-American accolades noticed Spiller. His sixth-place finish in the 2009 Heisman Trophy balloting tied Steve Fuller (1978) for the highest finish by a Tiger player. He also became the first Walter Camp All-American to earn those honors at two different positions (kickoff returner, running back) in the same season (2009).
In addition to excelling on the football field, Spiller starred for the Clemson track team, where he was a three-time All-American selection for the Tigers. He boasted career-best times of 6.58 in the 60-meters and 10.22 in the 100 meters. In 2008, he also received Strength All-American honors.
Off the gridiron, Spiller did quite well for himself in the classroom. The two time Clemson Dean's List choice holds the distinction of being the first Tigers running back to earn first-team Academic All-ACC honors and first-team All-ACC recognition on the field in the same year in school history. When he graduated in three-and-a-half years on Dec. 17, 2009; he received a standing ovation from the Clemson Board of Trustees when he crossed the stage, the first time that had happened for a student-athlete.
Being recognized for his football exploits was commonplace for Spiller, even during his prep days. Rated the best player in the state of Florida, the nation's top running back and the eighth-best overall prospect by Rivals.com during his senior year at Union County High School, Spiller had 541 carries for 5,511 yards (10.2 yards per carry) during his career, scoring 93 times (85 on the ground, three receiving one three more on kickoff returns). He was the first running back that earned Parade and USA Today All-American honors to enroll at Clemson since fullback Rudy Harris in 1989.
Spiller ranked sixth on the College Football News' running back prospect list, as the All-South and All-State choice was rated fourth nationally at that position by Super Prep. After his senior year, he played in the U.S. Army All-American game and was selected for the California-Florida High School All-Star game. During his final season, he had 176 carries for 1,840 yards (10.5 yards per carry), as he scored 30 times, adding another score on a kickoff return while also catching 15 passes for 249 yards.
Spiller was regarded as one of the elite track stars in the state of Florida. The three-time track All-State pick was the state titlist in the 100 meters (10.42) and 200-meter dashes. He won the 100 meters at the Golden West Meet, a national meet held in June, 2006 in California, as he also finished second in the 200 meters. In basketball, he lettered as a shooting guard and also garnered academic honors.
One of the most coveted recruits in the 2006 class, Spiller selected Clemson over Florida, Florida State, Miami (Fla.) and Southern California. As a true freshman, he immediately made himself known to the Clemson fans. He rushed for 938 yards and 10 touchdowns on 129
Carries, as his five 100-yard rushing performances led the team and ranked second in the Atlantic Coast Conference in 2006. He scored his first collegiate touchdown in a 34-33 overtime loss to Boston College on an 82-yard touchdown reception from quarterback Will Proctor.
Spiller's rushing attempt average of 7.27 yards was the best by any ACC player since Warrick Dunn of Florida State had a 7.48-yard average in 1995. That average was also the fourth-best figure in the nation in 2006 and fourth-best in ACC history. He ranked second in the league with 1,415 all-purpose yards, finishing fourth on the squad with nineteen receptions for 210 yards and a pair of scores. He also averaged 18.0 yards on 13 kickoff returns and 3.0 yards on eleven punt returns.
In 2007, Spiller earned All-ACC second-team honors. He rushed for 768 yards and three scores on 145 carries (5.3 yards per carry), adding 34 receptions for 271 yards (7.97 yards per carry) and a pair of scores. He averaged 8.56 yards on 16 punt returns, 28.79 yards (second in the ACC) on 19 kickoff returns and 132.54 all-purpose yards per game. He was the only conference player with two kickoff returns for touchdowns, and just the second Tiger to do it in one year, joining Doug Thomas (1990). He also had kickoff returns for touchdown in consecutive games vs. Duke and Wake Forest, becoming the first Tiger in history to return kickoffs for scores in consecutive games.
Spiller received first-team All-ACC honors as a kick returner and second-team as a running back in 2008. He was bothered by a midseason hamstring pull, but the All-American honorable mention was perhaps the best all-around player in the league. He was first in all-purpose yards (1,770), second in kickoff returns (516 yards), second in punt return average (10.5), and third in total touchdowns (11 -- seven rushing, one kickoff and three receiving). His 34 receptions ranked second among ACC running backs that season.
Spiller, whose dynamic contributions helped elevate the Tigers to a spot in the 2009 ACC Championship Game, was voted the conference's Player of the Year by the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association in 2009. He paced the team with 1,212 yards and twelve scores on 216 carries (5.61 yards per carry), adding 503 yards with four touchdowns on 36 catches. He ranked second in the league and 14th in the nation with a 32.82-yard average on 23 kickoff returns, returning four kicks for touchdowns, as he also averaged 26.25 yards with a score on eight kickoff returns. He became the first player to ever generate over 2,000 all-purpose yards in a season, setting the ACC standard with 2,680 yards.
Inside: Known as a speed back, he has strong muscle definition throughout his frame and runs a lot tougher than most give him credit for. Most dangerous when starting inside and using his quick feet and vision to bounce outside, but isn't afraid to take it north-south if that's what's needed. Keeps his pads down and legs moving through trash inside, often falling forward for extra yardage. Will be challenged to hang onto the ball when facing strong NFL linebackers.
Outside: Excels outside the tackles. Excellent vision and agility, with elite breakaway speed. Few safeties will get an angle on him once he's past the linebackers. Has the speed to turn the corner. Patient running on stretch and zone plays, able to cutback and blow through a hole. Can press the line, then evade penetrating defenders by bouncing outside with quick feet. Able to leap diving defenders and stay in balance after landing. Doesn't shy away from contact at the second level -- willing to plow through a tackle for an extra yard. Ball security can be an issue, as he gets a little loose with the ball when running outside. A potential Pro Bowl punt and kick returner because of his pure speed, willingness to attack the lane, quick cuts through traffic and superior elusiveness with the ball in his hands.
Breaking tackles: Runs with some lean; elusive and strong enough to avoid defenders in space and run through arm tackles. Quick stop-start move to freeze would-be tacklers or let them fly by if they leave their feet. Head fakes or just out-quicks most any defender in space -- usually at full speed. Isn't big enough to consistently get through the grasp of defensive tackles at the line or the wrap of linebackers, but gives good effort.
Blocking: Doesn't act like a track star playing football. Willing to stand up to ends and linebackers in pass protection, although he lacks the bulk to sustain and may struggle to stay strong against top pro linebackers. Will throw a shoulder into much bigger defenders to chip on a lineman before heading to the flat for a check-down pass. Gives effort to help teammates running downfield.
Receiving: Versatile offensive weapon who catches passes over the middle or in the flat, but will also line up in the slot and on the outside. Lightning-quick and ultra-elusive after the catch, often leaving defenders standing still as he jukes them outside or inside. Blows by safeties in coverage, especially on out-and-up routes. Inconsistent hands as a receiver. Will catch most easy passes with his hands and high-point the ball in traffic, but also has lapses of concentration and short-arms passes when expecting a big hit over the middle. Needs to be crisper coming in and out of his routes to sell them better at the next level. Solid hands on punt returns, and actually catches kickoffs at helmet-height with his hands.
Intangibles: Improved his strength and running toughness over the past couple of seasons to become a more complete running back. Looked to be a leader on offense with James Davis, quarterback Cullen Harper and wide receiver Aaron Kelly no longer on the squad in 2009. No major character issues or off-field incidents. Named to the ACC All-Academic team in 2008.
NFL Comparison: Felix Jones, Cowboys
Spiller started only 19-of-52 games at Clemson, gaining 3,547 yards with 32 touchdowns on 606 carries (5.85 yards per carry) Caught 123 passes for 1,420 yards (11.54 yards per carry) and 11 scores Completed 2-of-3 passes for 32 yards and two touchdowns Returned 74 kickoffs for 2,052 yards (27.73-yard average) and seven touchdowns Added 569 yards and a score on 53 punt returns (10.74-yard average) Amassed 7,588 all-purpose yards with 51 touchdowns on 856 plays (145.92 yards per touch) Became the only player in NCAA history with at least 3,200 rushing yards, 1,600 yards in kickoff returns, 1,000 yards on receptions and 500 yards on punt returns His seven kickoff returns for touchdowns broke the old NCAA career-record of six, first set by Anthony Davis of Southern California (1972-74) and matched by Ashlan Davis of Tulsa (2004-05) His total kick returns for touchdowns (eight, also one via a punt return), tied the NCAA all-time record he now shares with Cliff Branch of Colorado (1970-71 -- 6 punts, 2 kickoffs); Johnny Rodgers of Nebraska (1970-72 -- 7 punts, 1 kickoff); Derek Abney of Kentucky (2000-03 -- 6 punts, 2 kickoffs) and Chad Owens of Hawaii (2001-04 -- 6 punts, 2 kickoffs) The holder of 31 school records, Spiller joined Brandon West of Western Michigan (7,764 yards, 2006-09) and DeAngelo Williams of Memphis (2002-05) as the only players in NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision annals to amass over 7,500 all-purpose yards in a career Along with receiver Jacoby Ford (4,083 yards, 2006-09), the duo became the most productive tandem in college football history, as their 11,671 all-purpose yards combined topped the old NCAA record of 10,253 yards by Marshall Faulk (5,595) and Darnay Scott (4,658) of San Diego State (1991-93) His 7,588 all-purpose yards shattered the previous Atlantic Coast Conference record of 5,828 yards by Leon Johnson of North Carolina (1993-96) Tied for eighth in ACC annals and placed second in school history with 308 points scored, topped by Aaron Hunt (329, 2000-03) on Clemson's record list His 128 points scored in 2009 topped the old school season-record of 114 by Mark Buchholz in 2007 Ranks 16th in league annals and led the ACC's active players with 3,547 yards rushing, the third-best career total by a Tigers player behind Raymond Priester (3,966, 1994-97) and James Davis (3,881, 2005-08) His 32 rushing touchdowns also rank third on Clemson's career-record list, surpassed by James Davis (47, 2005-08) and Travis Zachery (41, 1998-2001) His 21 total touchdowns in 2009 tied the conference season-record that was first set by Don McCauley of North Carolina in 1970 One of seven Atlantic Coast Conference players to gain over 2,000 yards via kickoff returns in a career, as his 2,052 yards shattered the old school career-record of 1,552 yards by Derrick Hamilton (2001-03) His 708 yards on kickoff returns in 2009 broke the old Clemson season-record of 696 yards by Derrick Hamilton (2002) His punt return average of 26.25 yards in 2009 rank second on the school season-record list behind Brian Mance (32.0 avg, 2000) Holds the Clemson career-record for running backs with 123 receptions, topping Tony Zachery (105, 1998-2001) His 1,420 yards receiving topped Zachery (1,057) for the most yardage by a running back in school annals Became just the fifth player in Clemson history to rush for over 1,200 yards (1,212) in a season Exploded for 233 yards on the ground vs. Georgia Tech in the 2009 ACC Championship Game, the fourth-best game total by a Clemson player, ranking behind Raymond Priester (263 vs. Duke, 1995), Cliff Austin (260 vs. Duke, 1982) and Don King (234 vs. Fordham, 1952) His 119 punt return yards vs. Boston College in 2009 is topped by only Don Kelley (144 vs. Maryland, 1970) and Donnell Woolford (126 vs. Georgia Tech, 1987) on the Tigers' game-record list His 161 kickoff return yards vs. Alabama in 2008 is the fourth-best game total by a Clemson player Spiller's 312 all-purpose yards vs. Florida State, 310 yards vs. Miami and 301 yards vs. Georgia Tech (all in 2009), rank first-through-third on the school game-record chart.
Spiller was named the 2009 recipient of the College Football Performance Awards Kickoff Returner Trophy, the first award at the position in college football history Also received recognition at the punt returner position and running back position Unanimous All-American selection, becoming the first Clemson player to receive that honor Finalist for the Doak Walker Award, given to the nation's top running back First-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference choice and named ACC Player of the Year, becoming the first Tiger to receive that honor since Michael Dean Perry in 1987 Finished sixth in the voting for the 2009 Heisman Trophy, tying QB Steve Fuller (1978) for the highest finish by a Clemson player for that award Returned four kickoffs and a punt for scores in 2009, ranking second in the ACC and 14th in the nation with an average of 32.83 yards on 23 kickoff returns for 755 yards His average of 26.25 yards per punt return (8), was the second-best season average by a Tiger, totaling 210 yards Led the team with a career-high 1,212 yards and twelve touchdowns on 216 carries (5.61 ypc) Finished third on the team with 36 receptions for 503 yards (13.97 ypc) and four scores Set the school season-record with 128 points scored, as his total of 21 touchdowns tied the ACC season-record that was first set by Don McCauley in 1970 Broke the school and league season-record with 2,680 all-purpose yards, ranking fourth in the nation with a league record average of 191.43 yards per game Had 31 carries that gained at least 10 yards, including 12 for 20 yards or longer Also had eight receptions of at least 20 yards Completed 1-of-2 pass attempts for a 17-yard touchdown vs. North Carolina State and recorded a solo tackle in the Georgia Tech clash.
All-American honorable mention by The NFL Draft Report and Sports Illustrated Added All-Atlantic Coast Conference first-team honors as a kick returner and second-team accolades as a running back by the league's coaches Played in 12 games, sharing tailback chores with James Davis Finished second on the team with 629 yards on 116 carries (5.42 yards per carry), scoring seven times on the ground Had 20 runs for at least 10 yards, including six for 20 yards or longer Ranked fourth on the squad with 34 receptions for 436 yards (12.82 yards per carry) and three touchdowns, coming up with seven grabs for at least 20 yards, including a career-long 83-yarder vs. Duke Completed a 15-yard pass for a touchdown vs. Virginia Returned 18 punts for 189 yards (10.5 avg) and 19 kickoffs for 516 yards (27.16-yard average) and a touchdown, ranking 14th in the nation in kickoff average Led the team with 1,770 all-purpose yards and 11 total touchdowns, as his average of 147.5 all-purpose yards per game led the ACC and placed 21st in the major college ranks Sat out the Georgia Tech game and was limited at midseason due to a hamstring pull.
Associated Press All-ACC honorable mention as a return specialist Joined Doug Thomas (1990) as the only Tigers to ever return two kickoffs for touchdowns in the same season, as Spiller ranked second in the conference and 14th in the nation with 19 kickoff returns for 547 yards (28.79-yard average) Added 137 yards on 16 punt returns (8.56-yard average) Operated out of the backfield for 13 games, earning five starts while sharing snaps with James Davis Carried 145 times for 768 yards (5.3 yards per carry) and three touchdowns Gained at least ten yards on 25 attempts, including six for 20 yards or longer, as he had a season-long 83-yarder vs. Auburn in the Chick-fil-A Bowl (longest run from scrimmage in bowl history) Snared 34 passes for 271 yards (7.97-yard average) and two scores Led the team with 1,723 all-purpose yards, as his average of 132.54 yards per game ranked fourth in the ACC.
Despite playing behind James Davis at tailback, Spiller led the team and ranked second in the Atlantic Coast Conference with five 100-yard rushing performances Totaled a team-high 1,415 all-purpose yards with 12 touchdowns, ranking third in the conference with an average of 108.85 yards per game Collected 938 yards on 129 carries (7.27 yards per carry, third-best season average by a Tiger) with ten touchdowns Snared 19 passes for 210 yards (11.05 yards per carry) and two scores Returned 11 punts for 33 yards (3.0-yard average) and 13 kickoffs for 234 yards (18.0-yard average) Had 26 of his carries gain at least 10 yards, including seven rushes for 20 yards or longer His rushing yardage average of 7.27 yards was the best by an ACC player in a season since Florida State's Warrick Dunn averaged 7.48 yards in 1995 That average also ranks fourth on the ACC season-record list.
2008: Missed a portion of the Maryland contest (9/27) with leg cramps, turf toe and a mid-foot sprain Suffered a hamstring pull in the first half vs. Wake Forest (10/09), missing the rest of that game and the following week vs. Georgia Tech (10/18) Missed most of the third quarter vs. Boston College (11/01) with a head injury.
2009: Left the Middle Tennessee game (9/05) in the second quarter after tweaking a hamstring Sat out the fourth quarter vs. Boston College (9/19) with turf toe. After the game, Spiller said his injured toe "hurts all over," but he insisted today he will play in Saturday's football game against Texas Christian University. "It's getting better each day," he said. "The weather affected it yesterday." Spiller said the toe was not fractured. He described it as a "turf toe." According to orthopedics.about.com, turf toe is usually caused by either jamming the toe, or pushing off repeatedly when running or jumping. Typically, there is pain at the base of the big toe, but symptoms include stiffness and welling. "I keep stretching it, keeping it loose as best I can." he said. "It got jammed real bad in the ground. Sometimes I just can't control it. I can only control my rehab and trying to get healthy. I can be 85 percent and be good to go for the game." Spiller did not practice Monday. "It feels a whole lot better today than it did Saturday. I feel a big difference," he said. "It's just something I have to play through as much as I can." Re-aggravated his turf toe condition vs. Maryland (10/03) that required he wear a boot for several days after the game to speed up his recovery Again hurt his toe after gaining 310 all-purpose yards vs. Miami (10/24) Bothered late in the Florida State clash (11/07) with a chronic turf toe injury Played vs. South Carolina (11/28), despite battling a stomach virus. He also suffered a slight groin strain during the game.
Campus: 4.37 in the 40-yard dash 1.48 10-yard dash 2.53 20-yard dash 4.18 20-yard shuttle 6.86 three-cone drill 35-inch vertical jump 10'1" broad jump Bench pressed 225 pounds 18 times 30 1/2-inch arm length 10 1/8-inch hands.
2008-09 Outdoor Season Ran the second leg on Clemson's 4x100m relay team that finished third in the nation with a time of 38.77, so that gave him All-America honors 13th in the nation in the 100m with a time of 10.30 Ran the second leg of Clemson's victorious 4x100m relay team at the NCAA East Regional Qualified for the 100m at the NCAA national meet as an at-large entry Earned All-ACC honors in the 100m when he finished second at the league meet to teammate Jacoby Ford Established a personal best in the 100m (10.22) and 200m (20.91) at the Orange & Purple Classic 2008-09 Indoor Season Finished seventh at the ACC Championships in the 60m.
2007-08 Outdoor Season Returned to track after practicing with the football team during the spring Ran a 10.59 in the 100m prelims at the ACC Championships and finished fourth at the league meet in Atlanta Posted a regional-qualifying time of 10.33 in the 100m at the Orange & Purple Classic Ran the third leg with the Tigers' 4x100m relay team that ran a season-best 39.23 Placed sixth in the 100m and seventh in the 200m at regionals; he recorded his top career times in both, including a 10.29 in the 100m prelims His best time in the 200m was 20.96 at the East Region Championships.
2007-08 Indoor Season Earned All-American honors in the 60m as the 10th-place finisher and eighth-best American; he ran a 6.67 in the prelims Qualified for the NCAA Champion-ships automatically with the second-best time (6.58) in the nation; he recorded the time in a win at the Carolina Classic in Chapel Hill, NC in February; that time is fifth-best in school history, behind four current or former All-Americans Earned his first All-ACC certificate in the 60m after finishing runner-up to teammate Travis Padgett at the league meet; he posted a 6.70 in the final Finished fifth in the 200m (22.04) at the ACC meet.
2006-07 Outdoor Season Qualified for the NCAA Championships as a member of the 4x100m relay team Helped the squad to a seventh-place finish at the NCAA Champion-ships and earned his first All-American certificate; he ran anchor leg Earned his first All-ACC certificate after placing third in the 100m Helped the 4x100m relay team to a runner-up finish and the fourth-best time in the nation (39.48) at the conference meet Regional qualifier multiple times in the 100m His top time was 10.41 at the Clemson Invitational. 2006-07 Indoor Season Scored at the ACC meet in the 60m (6.74); it was an NCAA provisional qualifying mark.
Attended Union County (Lake Butler, Fla.) High School Rated the best player in the state of Florida, the nation's top running back and the eighth-best overall prospect by Rivals.com during his senior year Had 541 carries for 5,511 yards (10.2 yards per carry) during his career, scoring 93 times (85 on the ground, three receiving one three more on kickoff returns) Ranked sixth on the College Football News' running back prospect list, as the All-South and All-State choice was rated fourth nationally at that position by Super Prep After his senior year, he played in the U.S. Army All-American game and was selected for the California-Florida High School All-Star game During his final season, he had 176 carries for 1,840 yards (10.5 yards per carry), as he scored 30 times, adding another score on a kickoff return while also catching fifteen balls for 249 yards Regarded as one of the elite track stars in the state of Florida The three-time track All-State pick was the state titlist in the 100m (10.42) and 200-meter dashes Won the 100m at the Golden West Meet, a national meet held in June, 2006 in California, as he also finished second in the 200m In basketball, he lettered as a shooting guard and also garnered academic honors.
Graduated in December 2009 with a degree in Sociology, becoming the first person in his family to receive a four-year college diploma Recently had his jersey No. 28 retired by the university Was the first running back that earned Parade and USA Today All-American honors to enroll at Clemson since fullback Rudy Harris in 1989 Born 8/05/87 Resides in Lake Butler, Florida.
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