C.J. Spiller signed with Clemson as a five-star recruit in the class of 2006. Now it’s Spiller who has the task of trying to get top players around the country to come play for the Tigers.
Spiller signed with Clemson in large part because of his relationship with Clemson coach Dabo Swinney, who was an assistant for the Tigers at the time.
The key for Spiller to be successful as a recruiter is for him to build strong relationships with prospects and those close to them, the way he did with Swinney.
Spiller is in his first season as Clemson’s full-time running backs coach. He was an All-American for the Tigers, a first-round pick by the Buffalo Bills and a Pro Bowler before beginning his coaching career.
“Me being able to go through it obviously as a player in high school, you kind of know what to expect,” Spiller said. “To me, recruiting is about relationships. Can you go build a relationship with an individual? I’m a huge individual that values relationships to the utmost. So it’s all about building a relationship with a young man and his family, letting him get to know you, you get to know them. And then over time that stuff will take care of itself.”
Perhaps the toughest aspect to recruiting for Spiller won’t be building relationships and landing players, but instead it will be learning all of the NCAA rules.
That’s something he didn’t have to worry about as a prospect, but he does now.
“There’s certain rules and stuff that you can do and that you can’t do that I didn’t know as a recruit. But now you know it as a recruiter,” Spiller said. “There’s certain stuff that I have to make sure I’m doing it the proper way to make sure that you’re not doing anything that’s going to bring any negativity to a program. So that just goes to making sure I’m asking the right questions to guys that have been in this position before.”
Spiller will lean on Clemson’s other assistants at times to make sure he is abiding by all of the NCAA’s guidelines.
“We’ve got a lot of veteran coaches on our team that you can go and ask for help. I only know it from the recruit’s standpoint. Now I’m on the other side,” Spiller said. “So I’m always asking questions about how did they handle certain situations and how did they conduct themselves going into schools? But at the end of the day it’s still going to be a learning curve.”
While there are certain aspects of being a recruiter Spiller has to learn, he should become a big-time addition to Clemson’s recruiting efforts over time.
Spiller can share with prospects why he came to Clemson, how the university helped him and how it eventually led to him realizing his dream of playing in the NFL.
“Clemson has always been special to me,” Spiller said. “It’s not just about football here at Clemson. It’s about life. How are we preparing you for life?”