CLEMSON, S.C. (WCSC) - Former Clemson running Back CJ Spiller has been elected to the 2021 class for induction into the College Football Hall of Fame the National Football Foundation announced on Monday.
Spiller, who was selected in just his 2nd year of eligibility, will be part of a 13 person class that includes 11 players and 2 former coaches. Heisman Trophy winner Carson Palmer of Southern Cal and former Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops headline the class.
“This truly is a humbling experience.” Spiller said in a statement. “When Coach [Swinney] called me, I honestly didn’t know what he was calling about. He gave the whole spiel about how I was his first five-star recruit, his first first-rounder, first Pro Bowler, and he was like, ‘Now, big dog, you’re my first Hall of Famer.’ I said, ‘You’re joking. Quit playing.’ I was really speechless. But this is through the grace of God, honestly. It’s awesome to realize the dreams and the goals that I wrote down on that sheet of paper as a little kid. Seeing some of those things come to fruition, that’s a blessing in itself and a testament to all the kids out there to always believe in yourself and always believe in the goals that you write down.
“I can’t thank [Clemson fans] enough, honestly. I know it’s my name that’s going in, but the Clemson Family is going into the Hall of Fame as well. The way that they welcomed me with open arms 14 years ago when I stepped on this campus in 2006 to the way that they still show their love to me and my family now, there’s nothing I can do to repay them, but hopefully this is a small token of the hard work and sacrifice that not only I made but all of those who supported me as well to try to have a day like this. I will always be grateful for the Clemson Family.”
He will become the 4th former Tigers player to be inducted into the Hall joining Banks McFadden, Terry Kinard and Jeff Davis. Former Clemson coaches John Heisman, Jess Neely, Frank Howard and Danny Ford are also in the Hall.
Spiller played for the Tigers from 2006 through 2009 and was the ACC Offensive player of the year his senior season when he also finished in 6th place for the Heisman Trophy.
“He’s such a deserving guy.” Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said in a statement. “For him to get in on his second attempt is such a compliment to the respect for his college football career. It was an amazing career. I’m just so happy for him and his family, all of his teammates and all of his coaches because C.J. would be the first one to tell you he had a lot of people that helped him along the way. For me personally, he was my first five-star, my first first-rounder, my first Pro Bowler, and now my first College Football Hall of Famer. Hopefully there will be some more to come down the years, but it’s only fitting that C.J. was the first. I’m really just super proud of him and happy for him and look forward to the celebration later this year.”
Spiller still holds ACC single-season and career records for all-purpose yards, posting 2,680 in 2009 and finishing his career with 7,588, still third in FBS history. He gained 3,547 rushing yards, 1,420 receiving yards, 569 punt return yards and 2,052 kickoff return yards. No player in ACC history was within 1,700 career all-purpose yards of Spiller until this year, when Travis Etienne finished his career with 6,894 yards, still 694 yards shy of Spiller’s mark.
“That is just phenomenal news and says so much about him that he got in so quickly.” Former Clemson head coach Tommy Bowden said in a statement. “You hear people talk about someone who receives an honor and that he is a better person than he was a player. Well, that applies to C.J. What a great ambassador he has been for Clemson and college football. He was a player who was a national recruit who brought national attention to Clemson by coming to the school, and then what he did as a player — he put a spotlight on the program and what he did has led to more great players coming to Clemson. We see what the program has done since he graduated. This is very deserving.”
The full College Football Hall of Fame Class of 2021 is included below.
• Harris Barton – OT, North Carolina (1983-86)
• David Fulcher – DB, Arizona State (1983-85)
• Dan Morgan – LB, Miami [FL] (1997-2000)
• Carson Palmer – QB, Southern California (1998-2002)
• Tony Romo – QB, Eastern Illinois (1999-2002)
• Kenneth Sims – DT, Texas (1978-81)
• C.J. Spiller – RB/KR, Clemson (2006-09)
• Darren Sproles – RB, Kansas State (2001-04)
• Aaron Taylor – OT, Notre Dame (1990-93)
• Andre Tippett – DE, Iowa (1979-81)
• Al Wilson – LB, Tennessee (1995-98)
• Rudy Hubbard – 83-48-3 (63.1%); Florida A&M (1974-85)
• Bob Stoops – 190-48-0 (79.8%); Oklahoma (1999-2016)