Spiller to have number retired

by - Senior Writer -
No. 28 will no longer be worn by any Clemson players

CLEMSON – The honors continue to add up for Clemson’s C.J. Spiller, who not only was announced as the ACC’s Player of the Year on Wednesday, but in a press conference just before Clemson’s basketball game against Illinois, Tiger head coach Dabo Swinney announced that Spiller’s No. 28 will be permanently retired.

ESPN broadcaster Brad Nessler said it best when he slipped into the interview room and hugged Spiller, saying, “It couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.”

Spiller said the honors are humbling, and that having his jersey retired will be among his all-time career highlights.

“There are some great players in that ring,” Spiller said. “To be mentioned in the same breath as them, I am grateful for that, but I couldn’t have done it without my teammates. When it happens, I am sure there are going to some former teammates that I played with that will be here. They put in a lot of hard work to help me; it was not a one man thing. They went through all of the sweat and the blood in the offseason with me.”

Swinney said that retiring Spiller’s number was a no-brainer.

“God was in a good mood when he made C.J.,” Swinney said. “He is a very uncommon young man in a common world. He has changed Clemson, and he has changed this program. He will be in the Ring of Honor, and he will be the last 28 that we will have here. We will have him back at some point next year to retire his jersey.”

Spiller said that Clemson Sports Information Director Tim Bourret sent him a text message earlier in the day with the news that he had won the ACC honor, and that it became a very emotional moment for him.

“I really lost it,” Spiller said. “I broke down emotionally, not because of the award, but because of what I had to go through back in January when I decided to come back. I am happy – there are a lot of good athletes in the ACC – so I was proud when I heard this. This was a humbling experience, and hopefully others on this team will see this as a stepping stone for guys to realize what they can do if they put their mind to it.”

Swinney said the award and Clemson’s appearance in the ACC Championship Game are validation that Spiller made a good decision last January when decided to forego the NFL draft for his senior season.

“This is a special thing,” Swinney said. “He came to Clemson with a hope and a belief and some trust that one day he could maybe accomplish something special. He has exceeded what I expected. He is the best player in college football without a doubt.”

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