Clemson fans got some more good news this week as the football team continues getting ready for the upcoming season. A beloved Clemson Tiger will once again be gracing the sidelines of Death Valley. C.J. Spiller is back.
No, Spiller does not have any eligibility left to suit up, unfortunately, but he is going to be doing the next best thing. He will now be there to pass on his knowledge to Clemson’s running back group as Clemson coach Dabo Swinney announced that Spiller will be joining his coaching staff as a graduate intern.
“He’s going to get his Master’s in athletic leadership and we’re just excited about having that guy,” Swinney said.
Spiller has numerous accolades from his time as a Tiger. He was named ACC Player of the Year in 2009 and was picked ninth overall in the 2010 NFL draft by the Buffalo Bills. He was rated among the top 16 players in the nation for the NFL draft that year by Mel Kiper. Spiller played eight seasons in the NFL and logged 3,451 rushing yards and 21 touchdowns.
Along with Spiller being Clemson’s first player to receive the ACC Player of the Year award since 1987 when Michael Dean Perry took it home, he was also the first offensive player from Clemson to be ACC Player of the Year since 1978 when the Tigers Steve Fuller won it. He was named the MVP of the ACC Championship game vs. Georgia Tech on December 5, 2009. a game in which the Tigers lost.
Spiller was a unanimous first-team All-American as a kick returner, making him just the third unanimous All-American in Clemson history. He finished sixth in the Heisman Trophy voting, which tied him for the highest finish in Clemson history (Steve Fuller 6th in 1978) at that time, and just the second top 10 finish in Clemson history at the time.
He was a first-team All-American by Walter Camp as a kick returner and second team as a running back making him the first player in history of the Walter Camp AA team to be first or second team All-American at two positions in same year. Spiller was first team All-ACC. He was named ACC player of the week four times in the same year (more than any other ACC player). He was the ACC’s career leader in all purpose running with 7588 Yards and finished second in NCAA Division I history. The first player in ACC history with at least 1000 yards rushing and 500 receiving (he finished with 1212 rushing and 503 receiving).
Spiller broke the ACC record for all purpose running yards per game with 191. A record that, to that point, had stood since 1968. He was the only player in the nation with a touchdown in every one of his team’s games in 2009 (14 in a row)….went over 7000 career yards when he went 88 yards for a touchdown with the opening kickoff at South Carolina. A play that was his seventh career kickoff return for a score, another all-time NCAA record.
He has set 31 Clemson records altogether in various categories and keep in mind that Spiller recorded these numbers while splitting time with James Davis for three years. He graduated in three and a half years on December 17, 2009 and he received a standing ovation from Clemson Board of Trustees when he crossed the stage. This was the first time that had happened for a student athlete.
He made first-team Academic All-ACC in 2008 when he also made the Dean’s List. Spiller was the first Clemson running back to make first team Academic All-ACC and first team All-ACC on the field in the same year in school history.
Spiller was more than just a football star and outstanding student. He was also a three-time All-American in track for the Tigers. He a was also a first-team Strength All-American in 2008 and had career best times of 6.58 in the 60 and 10.22 in the 100 meters. Along with the accolades he has also been one of Clemson and Swinney’s biggest advocates and is a Tiger through and through.
It will definitely be interesting to see what Spiller can give back to the likes of Travis Etienne, Lyn-J Dixon, Demarkus Bowman, Kobe Pace, Michel Dukes, Darien Rencher, Chez Mellusi, and the others in that loaded stable. No matter what, Tiger fans will be happy to have one of the greats back on the sidelines helping Dabo and company fight to add to the trophy case.