RECRUITING: Nole-fan Spiller Isn't A Lock For FSU

Just 30 miles up the road from the University of Florida campus is Union County and it's big time running back CJ Spiller. Although he's so close to Gainesville, Spiller is a lifelong Florida State fan who wore an FSU sweatshirt to the interview with Gator Country. But, don't think he's a lock to spend his collegiate career in Tallahassee.

C.J. Spiller was so good as a junior that nearly every top football program in the country has been making second hand contact.

"They have been calling my coach and making sure that I know they called," Spiller said. "They send me letters and everything; they aren't allowed to call me yet."

Union County Coach Buddy Nobles knows that Spiller is a big-time talent. He's seen the proof first hand coaching the tailback with the breakaway speed and shifty moves, but he's seeing it now in the calls and letters that come in daily.

"CJ's skills speak for themselves," said Coach Nobles. "The one thing he believes in doing is getting north and south right now. He has the quickness to get it done early on but has the speed to go the distance. He has gotten really strong in the weight room and has gotten to be a really tough runner. He will turn up and put his shoulders down for contact. He averaged 11.6 yards a carry."

Spiller had over 1500 yards last season but those numbers are deceiving because Union County stresses balance in the offense.

"What was crazy was we didn't give him the ball enough last year, but our fullback last year also ran for 1500 yards," said Nobles. "He had to share carries with him and the wing back. He can return kicks and punts, you name it and he can do it. He can catch the football. We ran the Wing-T and we are going to run more I-formation this year to take advantage of him."

The Union County Tigers have a will have a senior laden team that will be one of the favorites to win a state championship this year. Spiller has a lot of self confidence but he also believes strongly in his teammates.

"Our team this year, I expect a team that is committed to winning the state championship game and bring back that title," he stated bluntly. "A team that is going to stay focused with all the media and other things that are coming in here."

To accomplish this feat CJ Spiller will have to have to take on a tremendous offensive load for the Tigers. He's set his goals high and he believes he can reach them.

"I want to rush for over 2,000 yards in one season," he said. "Just be more of a vocal leader for our team. I will be the lone senior running back, and I want to step up for the offense this year because we are losing a lot of great guys. We will still have a lot of seniors on offense but at running back I am the only one."

Coach Nobles has a huge plan for Spiller in this year's offense.

"We try and line him up in several places and make other teams account for him everywhere," Nobles said. "He scored 20-plus touchdowns last year."

Spiller is confident but he keeps his ego well in check. He's all about winning and not about the personal statistics.

"I had 1500-plus but didn't have that many carries," he explained. "I never look at trying to have too many carries. We have a good coach that I feel is the greatest coach in high school. He gave it to me when I needed it and our other great running backs when they needed it."

When it comes to where he will spend his college career, he says, "I grew up a Florida State fan, but it won't decide where I go. I need to expand my horizons. I live with my mother. My dad is in Miami but I stay with my mom. My brother is in the Army and my little sister is in middle school. My brother played when he was younger. I lived here my whole life."

Spiller's is not just a one-dimensional runner.

"He can throw the ball," said Coach Nobles. "He was our middle school quarterback when we went undefeated." He is also a starting cornerback on the team. He could entertain the prospect of playing offense or defense at the next level.

"I play corner back," Spiller said. "That will be up to the coaches if I play both ways."

His favorite college players of all time are two Seminoles and one Miami Hurricane.

"I grew up liking Warrick Dunn, Clinton Portis, and Deion Sanders," he said.

Distance to a college destination will play a small role in his final school decision. "It does become a factor," he said. "But, I won't let that influence me and where I go."

Spiller puts a premium on depth charts and their influence on his decision to go to one college over another.

"Depth charts are really the main thing," he said. "Some guys go to colleges and there is a stack of running backs and they get moved to defense and they really want to play offense. That really is a concern. How many running backs they have or whatever your position is, how many they have there and how many they recruited before you. That is a concern and you should always look at that."

He will take whatever time is necessary to make his final choice, sharing the decision with the people closest to him.

"I'm going to see what best fits me and my family," he said. "I will be praying about what college to go to. I need to make sure it fits me personally because I don't want to be down the road and later be like, oh man I shouldn't have gone there. I need to make the best decision for my entire life."

Spiller is a fine young man, nice, polite and thoughtful. On the football field, he's an explosive runner who has college coaches chomping at the bit to get a chance to recruit him.

"You can't teach his explosion," said Nobles. "That is God-given ability and CJ will give God credit."

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