Spiller's Heisman stock continues to soar

by - Senior Writer -

Help cast a real Heisman vote for C.J. Spiller!

CLEMSON – The Clemson Tigers finally won a big game on a national stage, and Tiger running back C.J. Spiller certainly introduced himself to the nation at-large in Saturday’s 40-24 victory over Florida St., gaining a Clemson-record 312 all-purpose yards and dazzling even veteran Clemson observers with his play.

However, it wasn’t until I got back to the press box following the post-game interviews that I realized how much of an impact Spiller’s performance might have had on the average fan across the nation.

I gave my email a quick check, and there was an email from, of all people, a Nebraska Cornhusker fan, who said “I couldn’t believe what I saw on the TV tonight…Spiller has my Heisman vote, if I had one, even over [Nebraska DL Ndamakong] Suh….WOW.”

Clemson quarterback Kyle Parker was asked about his teammate, and he just shook his head when asked if Spiller should be mentioned as a Heisman candidate.

“I mean, what more does he have to do,” Parker asked. “He comes to play every night. He had 312 yards tonight and two touchdowns. Just watch the tape is all I can say.”

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney was asked that if Spiller played for Notre Dame or Southern Cal, would he be getting more Heisman love from around the country, and he was unequivocal in his answer.

“Oh, absolutely, there is no doubt about it,” Swinney said. “Notre Dame is where the media was invented. The guy is an unbelievable. He’s a human highlight reel. I don’t know what else he could possibly do.”

Count Florida St. head coach Bobby Bowden among those impressed with the senior from Lake Butler, Fla., especially the wheel route that turned into a 58-yard, third quarter touchdown catch from Parker.

“I doubt if anybody is playing better than him in the country,” Bowden said. “I look at that running back from Alabama [Mark Ingram] and he is mighty good, but Spiller is such a dynamic player. The happiest I was, was when he was off the field. I knew he couldn’t get the ball. We talked all week about the wheel route, and he runs it one time and it was about ninety miles per hour for a touchdown. That is why I say he is mighty hard to handle.”

Spiller limped into the hallway outside of the Clemson locker room in obvious pain following the game, and said his toe really bothered after the first quarter, which makes his plays later in the game even more amazing.

"I'm hurt. It's my toe,” Spiller said. “It's just sore, but I'll be ready to go next week. Florida State did a good job of getting some good hits on me."

Spiller said that the pain got so bad at one point in the third quarter that he went to tight end Michael Palmer, receiver Jacoby Ford, running back Andre Ellington and quarterback Kyle Parker and asked them to step up for him.

"I was a little weak from running,” Spiller said. “I told them I needed them. They came through. Those guys are having incredible seasons.”
Spiller seemed to impose his will on the outcome of the game, but afterwards wanted to talk less about his Heisman chances and more about the fact that his team had just taken another step toward the ACC Championship game.

“That's what we needed," he said of the win. "Our fans have been waiting for a night game all year long. We've been waiting on one, too. The momentum we had tonight was real big. We were able to grab it late and hold on to it. We just stuck together. We knew FSU wasn't going to quit. We saw that when they played North Carolina."We just tried to make the best of our opportunities."

Spiller was finally asked if being on national television gave him any extra push, and he said no.

“I don't go into a game doing anything extra because it's on national TV,” he said. “If it hadn't have been on national TV, I would have taken the same approach to help my team and try to show that I'm the best player in America."

There is certainly one fan in Nebraska that seems to think so. Now the Heisman voters need to get on board.

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