Prospect Profile: RB C.J. Spiller

Between now and the start of the 2010 draft on April 22, we'll be profiling some of the prospects who have or figure to draw the interest of the Dolphins. We continue the series with a look at Clemson running back C.J. Spiller.

In a draft with its share of high-end prospects with questions about their character, C.J. Spiller stands out in a couple of different ways.

Not only is Spiller the most electrifying offensive weapon available, he's also one of the most solid citizens in the draft.

Everybody can talk about what a winner and high-character person Tim Tebow is, but he doesn't have much on Spiller.

As proof, we take you back to Clemson's graduation ceremonies last December, when Spiller — upon graduating after only 31/2 years — received a standing ovation from the school's Board of Trustees.

It was the first time an athlete at Clemson had been honored that way. Clearly, Spiller did his school proud — on and off the field.

"I wasn't expecting that at all," Spiller said. "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."

The truth with Spiller is that from a football standpoint he really didn't have much to gain by going back to Clemson for the 2009 season.

He will be a first-round pick on April 22, and he likely would have been a first-round pick last April as well.

But it was important for the native of Lake Butler, Fla — just outside of Gainesville — to get his degree. Accomplishing that goal ahead of schedule was simple for Spiller.

"Hard work, doing a lot of late-night studies, just going to the classroom and doing everything the teacher asks me to do," he said. "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.

"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."

Between classes, Spiller only added to an already impressive college resume.

Spiller rushed for 1,212 yards and 12 touchdowns, added four receiving touchdowns and five more on kick returns (four on kickoffs, one on a punt).

For his efforts, Spiller earned first-team All-American honors as an all-purpose player from both The Associated Press and the American Football Coaches Association.

He also was named the ACC Player of the Year while earning all-conference honors as both kick returner (first team) and running back (second team).

His style, versatility and explosiveness, along with his style, have drawn comparisons to Reggie Bush, who was selected second overall in the 2006 draft.

"Everybody is going to compare me to whoever," Spiller said. "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."

The one negative about Bush is that he's too small to be an every-down back, and the feeling is the same will hold true for Spiller.

That's the only reason he won't be among the top five picks in this year's draft.

As it is, Spiller should be off the board by the middle of the first round and a top 10 selection isn't out of the question.

Regardless of when he is taken, whatever team lands Spiller will get a player who will only cause headaches for opponents.


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