PLAYER: C.J. Spiller
SCHOOL: Lake Butler Union County
HEAD COACH: Buddy Nobles
www.floridakids.us Pre-Spring Rating: 2
I feel so very fortunate to have the opportunity to watch some of the top backs in the nation without ever leaving the state of Florida.
Whether it's at a camp/combine setting, one of the hundred practices that I have the pleasure of attending, at a game or via a highlight film, I have had some memorable times watching quick, elusive backs who have left a lasting impression.
C.J. Spiller is certainly one of those gifted runners, who happens to combine speed, great field vision, tremendous balance and the knowledge of what's happening on both sides of the ball. He is well coached and is extremely impressive to watch.
STRENGTHS: One thing that stands out about Mr. Spiller is his speed. He is not only one of the fastest running backs in the state of Florida this year, but he will be one of the fastest in the nation as well.
Spiller also has the size to go along with his speed, and that has proven to be a deadly combination for defenses to prepare for.
Whether you watch film, or see him live, the very thing that hits you immediately are his vision, balance and patience. He is the type of back that will read his blocks and let a play develop.
"Before his junior year, I saw him at a camp, and I was simply bowled over by the way he handled himself," said Larry Blustein of www.floridakids.us. "He is a mature young man who knows that hard work will pay off. It's the kind of environment he was raised in, and is the way he has been coached by Buddy (Nobles) and that great staff at Union County."
What will impress you most about Spiller, either live or on tape, is his ability to change the momentum of a game on one play. Here is a running back prospect that average more than 9 yards per carry last season. He is a legitimate home run threat every time he touches the football.
"Sometimes C.J. feels that he has to do too much," Blustein said. "That's when he starts to lose concentration and fumbles. Talking with Coach Nobles, they try to explain that even though he is a star-quality athlete, he doesn't have to do it all."
WHAT HE NEEDS TO WORK ON: With Spiller there is not much downside to his game. Most will look for a weakness and at that point you have to really reach to find one.
If I would have to pick anything out, it may be his overall strength. He could use some more time in the weight room and get bigger and strong. He could also improve as a blocker. In college, he will have to do more blitz pick-up than he does in high school. Outside of that there is not much downside to Spiller game.
OVERALL: With C.J. Spiller, the sky is the limit. He has all the tools to be a great running back in college. He is a combination of Fred Taylor and Clinton Portis. His speed and explosiveness make him one of the premier players this year. What's impressive to me and others who follow football in Florida is this could be the second year in a row that the state has the nation's best (Antone Smith) running back.
On top of being a great football player, Spiller is a high character kid that will make the school he plays for proud of him. He is the type of running back that will give it all he has on and off the field.
IN THE HUDDLE: C.J. Spiller
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