Scouting C.J. Spiller

Reports of C.J. Spiller's scintillating skill, speed and strength are not exaggerated, according to one ot our own Inside Tennessee members, who saw the U.S. Army All-American and Lake Butler, Fla., native play in a game last Friday.

Bud Young, a resident of Harden Co., who provides some commentary for the high school football team's radio broadcast, caught the nation's No. 4 rated running back's performance and came away impressed.

C.J. Spiller rushed 18 times for 149 yards and two touchdowns for Union County High School in the game played against a private school in Gainesville. He also took a kickoff back for a 99-yard TD in which he broke five tackles according to Young.

"He fumbled the football and picked it up at the one and ran it all the way back for a touchdown," Young said. "He broke five or six tackles and once he got to the 40 he turned on the speed and left everybody."

Spiller, 5-10, 185, recorded consecutive 4.28 times at the Combine in Jacksonville last spring, wearing football cleats and running on grass. Additionally he has posted the fastest times of any prospect that participated in a Scout sponsored combine in each of the last two years.

As a junior, Spiller amassed 1,415 yards and 20 TDs in only 86 carries for an average of 11.6 yards per run. A four-year starter, he has excellent hands and is an outstanding blocker. Spiller bench presses 300 pounds and power cleans 275.

"He broke a lot of tackles and just ran over some of them," said Young. "He changes directions and he doesn't give tacklers much to hit. He has good body lean and stays close to the ground. He can take it between the tackles or bounce it outside."

Spiller had scoring runs of 65 and 44 yards in the game and he exhibited sure hands on a sideline catch that was ruled out of bounds. He also played a few snaps at cornerback in the contest won by Union County 34-27.

Featured in an upcoming issue of Rocky Top News, Spiller has visited Tennessee unofficially and remains interested in the Vols, who will be trying to get an official visit from him.

"Coach (Jimmy Ray) Stephens is recruiting me for Tennessee," he said. "I went on vacation with my coach and we up to the (NFL) Hall of Fame. We stopped in Knoxville on the way up there and I got to see the campus. It just felt good visiting there. It felt like if I was to go there I would just fit in with the team."

Spiller says he remains interest in UT although recent reports have indicated otherwise. However he also admits it would be hard for him to leave Florida. He grew up a Florida State fan and is considering the Seminoles as well as the Gators and Canes.

"I think it would be a tough decision to leave Florida just because my family can come see my games," he said. "But my mom told me it doesn't matter just to follow my heart. She knows wherever I go it will be the right decision."

With Tennessee's need for play-makers and running backs, Spiller could be the perfect solution for the Big Orange's ailing offense. On the other hand, if he chooses Florida, he could become a big problem for UT's defense.

"He had a lot of Florida people gathered around him after the game," Young said. "He's going to be a good ball player for somebody."

Stay tuned for further updates on the Spiller chase. And thanks to Bud for a firsthand scouting report on this big-time talent.

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