Spiller graduates Thursday

First-team All-American C.J. Spiller was among six Clemson football players and 28 student-athletes past and present who received degrees from Clemson University on Thursday morning at Littlejohn Coliseum.

Spiller stood out from the over 1200 students who received degrees in terms of the ovation he received when he crossed the stage and shook the hand of Clemson President James F. Barker.

The ovation reached another level when the members of the Clemson Board of Trustees in attendance rose in near unison to give Spiller a standing ovation. No one in the Clemson athletic department can remember a time when the Board of Trustees gave a student-athlete a standing ovation at a Clemson University graduation ceremony. The act by the Board of Trustees, which was spontaneous, triggered a louder ovation from the nearly 10,000 students and family members in attendance.

"It never gets old seeing your players cross that stage and earn a degree," said Clemson Head Coach Dabo Swinney. "I am proud of the six student-athletes who graduated today and certainly the five we had who graduated before the season started.

"The ovation that C.J. Spiller received was very special. I can't remember going to a graduation anywhere and seeing the Board of Trustees recognize a student-athlete like that. It certainly shows the level of respect C.J. has on this campus. It is well deserved."

Spiller was joined in the class of 2009 by teammates Jacoby Ford, Kavell Conner, Jamarcus Grant, Cory Lambert and Ronald Watson.

Former Tiger Brian Hill also graduated.

Spiller and Ford are the greatest all-purpose yardage duo in the history college football with 11,453 yards over the last four years, and they also received their degrees just minutes apart during the ceremony.

Other graduates on Thursday included Clemson basketball player Karolis Petukonis, women's basketball player Cristy Brown, and current golfer Ben Martin, who reached the finals of the US amateur this past summer. The list also included Rowing ACC Champions Jessica Leidecker and Hilary Cumbest.

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