C.J. Spiller at the NFL Combine

INDIANAPOLIS - Scout.com was on hand to talk with former Clemson running back C.J. Spiller about a variety of topics.

C.J. Spiller measured in at 5-11 ½ inches tall and 196 pounds. He is expected to run the 40-yard dash Sunday afternoon.

Was it a dream of yours to play in the NFL?
Spiller: As a little kid, it's something that you always dreamed about, playing in the NFL. You just to do whatever it takes to get to that level. Now that I'm here, I haven't stopped working, haven't gotten complacent, continue to work hard because I have not yet arrived at the potential I want to be at.

What do you say to people who question whether you have the size and weight to be a top performer?
Spiller: Everyone can voice their own opinion. The only thing I can do is just go out there and perform. I can't worry about that. I know I play the game with a lot of passion, and I'm going to go out there and compete at the highest level, no matter my size or my height. I know what I can do as a football player.

Can you run effectively in between the tackles?
Spiller: That's pretty much what we did at Clemson. We ran inside, did a lot of zone blocking inside, did a lot of power downhill running. I think by me doing that, hopefully I showed people I can also be an inside runner as well as a good outside runner.

How fast are you?
Spiller: I don't know. I'm just going go out tomorrow and execute what I've been practicing while I was training and just wait for the results.

Will you be disappointed if you don't run a certain time?
Spiller: No, I won't be disappointed at all. I'm just going to go out there and have fun, and just go out there and compete, and just execute what I've been practicing. If I do that, everything else will take care of itself. I haven't set a goal. I'm not worried about a time.

Why did you decide to run?
Spiller: I just wanted to run. People haven't really seen me run in shorts and have mostly seen me on the football field. So I just want to go out and just run and just have fun.


"My main thing is not to worry about a time or try to add any more pressure on me. I'm just going to go out there and execute and hopefully the results will be good for me and the strength coach I worked with." (Roy Philpott)
Any idea how fast you can run?: Hopefully, it's fast. But my main thing is not to worry about a time or try to add any more pressure on me. I'm just going to go out there and execute and hopefully the results will be good for me and the strength coach I worked with.

Are you doing everything tomorrow?
Spiller: No. I did the 225 today and I'll be doing the 40 tomorrow. I'll do everything (else) at my pro day.

How many bench press reps did you do here?
Spiller: 18.

How much of a thrill was it to get a standing ovation from the Board of Trustees at Clemson when you graduated in December?
Spiller: I wasn't expecting that at all. That's why people say you never know who's watching. You have to always know how to carry yourself both on and off the field. To get that, something I'd never been a part of, was a humbling experience and an exciting time. Hopefully, my younger teammates were able to see that so they can see what it takes to grab those guys' attention, because those are the guys who really run the university.

How did you graduate in 3.5 years?
Spiller: Hard work, doing a lot of late-night studies, just going to the classroom and doing everything the teacher asks me to do. I took a whole lot of classes my freshman year and didn't hardly go home that much. It just took a lot of hard work and it paid off for me in the end.

That was my main goal for going back (for his senior year instead of turning pro) – to graduate. I wanted to be an example to younger guys and to my younger sister as well. You've got to look at everything. Education can take you a long way, so I wanted to be an example to younger kids.

Sometimes it's hard to quantify what makes someone a good return man. Why do you think you've been so good as both a kickoff and punt returner?
Spiller: I've just been blessed by the Man upstairs. You've got to be a man to get back there on those punt returns. You've got to have faith in your teammates and you've got to have faith that they're going to hold up. And kickoff returns is all about reading the blocks and then just exploding through the hole. Hopefully, you can give your offense good field position and hopefully it'll turn into a big play. I take a whole lot of pride in playing on those special teams, especially kickoff return and punt return.

A lot of guys don't want to return kicks in the nfl after their first year or so. Is that something you want to do your entire career?
Spiller: That's something I love to do. Special teams can win or lose a game for you. That's something I enjoy doing. I think I'm pretty good at doing it. Hopefully, I can help an organization by doing it so teams can't just key on me as being a slot guy or just running the ball from the backfield, and I can go in and help that team out in any way.


"I went back and I proved that I can carry the ball 20 to 22 times a game and still last. I think I get stronger as the game goes on and get a better feel." (Roy Philpott)
Can you be an every down back in the NFL and do you want to be?
Spiller: I think I can. I went back and I proved that I can carry the ball 20 to 22 times a game and still last. I think I get stronger as the game goes on and get a better feel. But that's not my decision to make. That's going to be up to the coaches, what they think and how they use me.

What was the ACC championship game like? It seemed like you were out of gas but every time you got the ball, you seemed to make something happen?
Spiller: It was fun. That's why you play the game, to play in championship games. … To get there and (have) the experience we did, it was just awesome. I was just trying to put my team in position to win and I was just having fun. It was a game going back and forth, back and forth.

Talk about your 92-yard kickoff return for a TD against Maryland last season. Some of your teammates here have said it was their favorite play of yours.
Spiller: Oh yeah, that was a great return. I wasn't really looking for them to kick me the ball deep. We went into the game with them not really kicking it. Once they did, I just read my blocks. I ended up, lucky for me, running into one of my teammates, Casey Nobles, I kind of bounced off him. That's one thing one of my coaches told me when he first got there, to just keep your feet moving.

I did that. My shoe came off, but I wasn't going to let that stop me from running. My teammates did a great job of holding guys up. I trusted them.

Where will you watch the draft?
Spiller: I'll be home, hopefully, with my parents, my mom, my daughter, just waiting for my name to be called.

Do you agree with the comparison of you to Reggie Bush because you're a multi-dimensional player?
Spiller: Everybody's going to compare me to whoever. Like I tell people all the time, every running back is different. I can't go to an organization and try to be Reggie Bush. It's just not going to happen. The only thing I can do is just try to go be C.J. Spiller. It's great to be in that company. Reggie Bush has done a phenomenal job while he's been in the NFL. Even to be mentioned in that company is a humbling experience for me.

With so much passing in today's NFL, how much of a plus is it that you're a 100-catch back?
Spiller: I take great pride in catching. That's something I grew up enjoying doing. Baseball kind of got my catching really good. That helps a running back. The more a running back can add to his game, I think the more dangerous he can become to defenses. … It's just another opportunity of helping the offense.

Reggie bush gets a little offended when people question his ability to run between the tackles. Does that bother you?
Spiller: It doesn't bother me at all. I don't get caught up into what people say. Everyone is going to voice their own opinion. The only thing I do is go out there and try to help my team win and just enjoy competing at the highest level. I don't sit home and worry about what people like about my durability or what my style is. I just try to go out there and have fun.

Blitz pickup and blocking is a big adjustment for backs coming into the NFL. How much of that did you have to do at Clemson and are you confident you can deal with that?
Spiller: It all comes down to a guy (who has) the will that you want to do it. You can have great technique and all, but the ultimate goal is you've got to have to do it. I did a great job. The coaches put me in a great position the past two years of pass protection. It's all about recognizing the blitz. If you know where the blitz is coming from, you'll have an advantage and just use your technique. Sometimes the guy's going to get you and sometimes you're going to get him, but if you know where it's coming from, that'll help you out a whole lot the whole way.

With the year you had, were you disappointed you didn't get to go to New York for the Heisman presentation?
Spiller: They voted who they thought was the best. I'll let everybody else in Clemson be disappointed, but to me, they voted who they thought was the best. I didn't let that distract me. I still had a bowl game to play, so I was just really (focused) on trying to get us a bowl win.

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