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    NFLDraftScout Preview: The Running Backs

    having lost Willie Parker, we will definitely draft a RB. maybe even a FB?



    Draft preview: Running backs

    April 5, 2010

    NFLDraftScout.com

    There is always a need for fresh legs to carry the football in the NFL, and the 2010 draft has plenty of prospects in all sizes, speeds and a variety of intriguing abilities.

    In a draft loaded with talent at other positions, only three running backs may be selected as high as the first round, according to ratings by NFLDraftScout.com. But the list of prospects includes such a range of talents that it's very likely some team will find a future star in the fourth round or later.

    The running back at the top of most charts is Clemson's C.J. Spiller, who has the quickness, moves and speed to sprint to stardom immediately in the NFL. Among many others who have gained increasing attention over the last year is Fresno State's Ryan Mathews, who has been productive since high school and led the nation in rushing in 2009, but needed to convince scouts he was more than a fast fish in a slow pond.

    Although fullbacks appear to be heading the way of the Dodo bird in the NFL, Missouri State's big, tough, explosive Clay Harbor will certainly attract attention from some team wanting to use him to create interesting mismatches.

    Here's a closer look at the best running backs and fullbacks in the 2010 draft:

    RUNNING BACKS

    1. C.J. Spiller, Clemson, 5-11, 196, 1
    He can be something special in the NFL, a big-play waiting to happen -- and happen quickly. Although his quickness was evident in games, he verified it in his 2.41-second clocking in 20 yards that tied the fastest 20 ever at an Indianapolis combine, set in 2008 by East Carolina's Chris Johnson, who used that speed to rush for more than 2,000 yards for Tennessee last season. Spiller's best 40-yard time at the combine was 4.27, sixth best in the event's history in Indy. On the field, he has the strength to run through tackles and a jump cut-and-go move that leaves defenders reading the back of his jersey. He returned to Clemson for a senior season rather than be a first-round pick in 2009 because he had something to prove. After sharing carries with James Davis for three years as "Lightning" in the "Thunder and Lightning" backfield, Spiller wanted to show he could be a featured back. He did that by gaining 1,212 yards rushing, 503 yards receiving and scoring 21 touchdowns, at least one in every game. He is the first player in college history with at least 3,000 yards rushing, 2,000 yards in kickoff returns, 1,000 yards receiving and 500 punt return yards.

    2. *Ryan Mathews, Fresno State, 6-0, 218, 1
    Despite leading the nation in rushing in high school and college, NFL scouts seemed to remain skeptical about Mathews until he dazzled them at the combine, where his best time in 40 yards was 4.37 seconds. He is a decisive, strong, cut-and-go runner who uses exceptional leg and body strength to run right through most tackles. He is also an effective blocker both on passes and in space and has soft, reliable hands as a receiver. In 2009, Mathews rushed for 1,808 yards, despite missing a game and a half due to injuries. He was at his best against the best on the Bulldogs' schedule, such as Boise State (234 yards, three touchdowns), Wisconsin (107 rushing yards), Cincinnati (145 rushing yards, touchdown) and Illinois (173 rushing yards, three touchdowns).

    3. *Jahvid Best, California, 5-10, 199, 1-2
    Although his overall talent is sensational, Best's durability remains a major concern and he probably will be considered a situational player in the pros. His college career ended prematurely last season after scoring a 7-yard touchdown against Oregon State that resulted in a concussion and back injury that knocked him out for the final four games. Best is an entertaining runner in open space, where his quickness, lateral agility and an extra gear make him a constant threat. These abilities serve him well as a returner, receiver and even on runs from scrimmage, although usually only if he is able to get to the outside. He quantified his speed at the combine with a 40-yard time of 4.34, second only to Spiller among running back prospects.

    4. *Jonathan Dwyer, Georgia Tech, 5-11, 229, 2
    JIn his three-season career, Dwyer pounded the ball 517 times for 3,329 yards -- an impressive average of 6.4 yards per carry -- with 35 touchdowns. He earned him the nickname "Diesel" for his powerful, tackle-breaking, inside running in Georgia Tech's triple-option attack. But scouts wonder if his ability as an inside runner will continue in the NFL without being part of a deceptive, triple-option offense. He didn't help himself at the combine, where his workouts included a poor 40-yard time of 4.64 and a broad jump of less than 9 feet. Also, Dwyer caught only 15 passes and was rarely asked to pass block in college. Still, some teams like him on film and might think his combination of brute force, bursts of speed and surprising lateral moves will work well in the NFL.

    5. Toby Gerhart, Stanford, 6-0, 231, 2-3
    Gerhart is a durable, powerful back who is quicker than he is fast and manages to gain decent chunks of yardage as a tackle-breaking, north-south runner. He set a single-season school record with 1,871 yards rushing in 2009, was selected Pac-10 Conference Offensive Player of the Year and finished second to Alabama's Mark Ingram by only 28 points in the closest Heisman Trophy vote ever. Gerhart was a key player on Stanford's 2008 College World Series team and is expected to get attention from Major League Baseball. He set a California high school career record with 9,622 yards rushing, including 3,233 yards and 39 touchdowns as a senior. He didn't hurt himself at the combine, where his explosion was evident in an excellent vertical jump of 38 inches and he ran 40 yards in an acceptable 4.50 seconds.

    6. Ben Tate, Auburn, 5-11, 220, 2-3
    Tate is a physical runner who many thought flashed surprising bursts of speed during his college career. The real surprise was that he actually does have excellent speed, as he showed at the combine when he shocked scouts with a 40 time of 4.34 seconds at 220 pounds. He has been compared to Marion Barber of the Dallas Cowboys in terms of being a tough, inside runner. Some scouts believe Tate may have the combination of toughness and speed that will make him very productive in the NFL, which shouldn't be all that surprising when his college career is put into perspective. Although many believe he was inconsistent at Auburn, Tate's career total of 3,321 yards rushing was fifth in school history, behind the likes of Bo Jackson, Carnell Williams, James Brooks and Joe Cribbs (known in this century as Josh's father).

    7. Montario Hardesty, Tennessee, 6-0, 225 2-3
    Multiple knee injuries sidelined Hardesty so often that he had only six starts in 36 games heading into last season. But he managed to stay on the field long enough in 2009 to rush for 1,345 yards, only 119 yards short of a school record. Hardesty is a classic, cut-and-go runner who accelerates quickly into the second level but lacks true home run speed. He shows decent ability as a receiver. Scouts were disappointed when he pulled out of the Senior Bowl, but he gained their favor again at the combine where his results included a 41-inch vertical leap and a 4.49 40 time. NFL teams must consider that he already had three knee surgeries, but the question of his durability must also consider that he carried the ball 560 times, second most in Tennessee history.


    8. *Joe McKnight, Southern California, 6-0, 198, 3-4
    McKnight lacks the size needed to be an every-down, power-style runner, but he is a versatile performer with solid receiving skills out of the backfield. He should serve some NFL team well as an explosive receiver out of the backfield and as a returner. McKnight has been surrounded by controversy since the day he signed a letter of intent for USC, an unpopular decision in Louisiana where he was a star in a high school career interrupted by Hurricane Katrina and where LSU recruited him hard. There were allegations that he was improperly recruited with the help of USC alum Reggie Bush. At USC, McKnight's production never quite measured up to his promise, but he certainly showed flashes of brilliance. He opted for the draft amidst reports that he was driving an SUV supplied in a manner unacceptable to the NCAA. He was also suspended from participation in the 2009 Emerald Bowl during another NCAA investigation involving several USC alumna receiving improper benefits.

    9. Anthony Dixon, Mississippi State, 6-1, 233, 4
    Dixon is a big, tough back who can run, catch and block. Critics were skeptical if Dixon was ready to be a team leader after he was arrested for a DUI in July 2009, but he put that -- and a lot of defenders -- behind him. Dixon left Mississippi State as the school's all-time leading rusher with 3,994 yards. He also owns school records for career attempts (910), rushing touchdowns (42) and single-season rushing yards (1,391 in 2009) and attempts (287 in 2007). In addition, he caught 56 passes for 449 yards and four touchdowns in his career. He is a durable back who hasn't missed any games over the past three seasons and played through a broken finger in 2006, undergoing surgery on a Wednesday and playing Saturday. This is one back whose potential cannot be defined by his speed -- or a lack of it, judging by a 40 time of 4.67 at the combine -- but rather one who can do anything required of a back except win a world class foot race.

    10. James Starks, Buffalo, 6-2, 218, 4-5
    Starks is a wild card in this draft after sitting out his entire senior season while rehabilitating a shoulder injury. So scouts might become intrigued when they dig in to research a guy who was one of those do-everything athletes in high school, where he mainly played quarterback but was more of a threat to run than pass. Starks leaves college as the school record-holder for rushing yardage (3,140), rushing touchdowns (34) and points scored (222) -- all this in 36 games. He appeared to be in great shape at the combine, where his shoulder was healthy enough for 15 reps of 225 pounds in the bench press. Starks began his college career as a cornerback before being moved to offense.

    11. Lonyae Miller, Fresno State, 6-0, 221, 5
    Miller qualifies as a low-mileage prospect who might have a lot of productivity to offer. Despite starting only 14 of his 45 college games, Miller's career average of 5.51 yards per carry ranked 13th among NCAA backs active last year. He arrived as Fresno State as a star high school recruit, but never became a featured back in a system laden with talent such as Mathews. But scouts who study his games will see flashes of brilliance that make Miller intriguing, such as runs of 90 yards (vs. Idaho), 80 (vs. Hawaii), 72 (vs. Nevada) and 69 (vs. Colorado State). These bursts show that he may be more than a tough, short-yardage back. He also had the longest run at the Senior Bowl (18 yards) and finished with a game-high 44 yards rushing. His athleticism was validated at the combine, where his workouts included a 40 time of 4.43 seconds, a 10-foot broad jump and 26 reps with 225 pounds in the bench press.

    12. Joique Bell, Wayne State (Mich.), 5-11, 220, 5-6
    Here is a young man willing to work hard to get what he wants. Bell, from a tough childhood in a poor Michigan neighborhood, has already graduated with a degree in criminal justice. And, oh yes, he owns every significant rushing record in school history despite a lack of great speed. Bell, whose 40-yard time was only 4.68 seconds at the combine, rushed for more than 2,000 yards as a redshirt freshman (2006) and did it again last year. His 2,084-yard, 29-touchdown effort in 2009 earned him the Harlon Hill Award as the best player in Division II. His 8,055 all-purpose yards rank fourth in Division II history and ninth in the NCAA career-record books. He accounted for 100 total touchdowns in his career (88 rushing, eight receiving, four passing) and left Wayne State as the school's all-time leader in rushing yards (6,72, rushing attempts (1,181), total offense (7,00 and total plays (1,19.

    FULLBACKS

    1. Clay Harbor, Missouri State, 6-3, 252, 3-4
    Harbor is an athletic beast who can line up as a fullback, tight end or H-back and create matchup problems for a defense. As a receiver he set the school record with 150 career catches and his 1,906 yards ranks third all-time at Missouri. As a senior, Harbor's 59 catches for 729 yards and four touchdowns reflected his ability to get open in zones and stretch the field. His blocking has improved each year so he can be a significant block-or-catch weapon as an H-back. His explosion was demonstrated at the Indianapolis combine when he soared 40 inches in the vertical jump. And his strength was quantified when he bench pressed 225 pounds 30 times.

    2. Rashawn Jackson, Virginia, 6-1, 239, 5-6
    Jackson's play was one of the few bright spots for the Cavaliers in 2009. After rushing for only 134 yards over his first two seasons as the team's fullback, the powerful back led the team with 461 rushing yards, averaging 4.8 yards per carry last year. He also caught 25 passes for 222 yards as a senior, which certainly will help as a prospect for the pass-happy NFL. Jackson was charged in October 2008 with grand larceny and breaking and entering in a November 2007 dorm incident, but charges were dropped due to lack of evidence.

    Frank Cooney is the Publisher of NFLDraftScout.com, published by The Sports Xchange.

    http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/draft/stor ... ning-backs

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    Re: NFLDraftScout Preview: The Running Backs

    Were is G Blount?

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    Re: NFLDraftScout Preview: The Running Backs

    Quote Originally Posted by SS Laser
    Were is G Blount?

    with Blount's character concerns, i'm not sure the Steelers will take a chance on him but he could end up being a mid-round steal for somebody.


    LeGarrette Blount Scouting Report

    FEBRUARY - 28 - 2010


    Height/Weight: 6’1/245

    Pro Potential: Deuce McCalister – New Orleans Saints

    Position Traits

    Acceleration/Burst/Quickness: Can explode through a hole when he is moving downhill. A quick north/south runner that gets to top speed quickly when he diagnoses the hole. Does not move nearly as fast when forced to move laterally.

    Ball Protection: Runs with an aggressive style but does a nice job of keeping the ball tight to his body.

    Elusiveness/Feet/Agility: Has surprising ability to make himself small and miss the meat of a hit. Can slither his way out of a tackle and keep him momentum moving forward. Does look stiff in space, does not always make the effort to miss a tackle. Has light feet for a 240+ pound back.

    Pass Catching: Just four receptions in his two years at Oregon. Was not used as a receiving option. He showed soft hands at the Senior Bowl, but it was easy to notice the lack of fluidity when it came to running routes and seeing the ball in.

    Pass Blocking: A force when it comes to picking up the blitz. Delivers a strong blow and maintains the control of the engagement. Seems to enjoy this aspect of the game, willing and physical.

    Power: Strong and violent runner. Once he gets all of his momentum moving north, defenders bounce off him. Breaks tackles on nearly every run. Can get his pad level low enough so that the maximum power can be exerted to the defender. Uses a strong stiff arm to toss away the unbalanced tacklers.

    Size/Length/Hand Size: Huge body with a long frame, long arms. Carries 240+ pounds comfortably. An intimidating ball carrier at the second level for defensive backs to deal with.

    Speed: Does not have the elite speed in the open field, but he has shown enough speed to run away from some defensive backs. Reaches top speed quick, making him appear to be faster than he is.

    Vision/Balance/Running Instincts: Outstanding vision, locates the inside lanes quickly and gets in to them in a blink. Has experience in an offense that uses elements of a zone blocking scheme, giving the back the option to sit and wait, or explode through the trenches. Is a patient ball carrier that consistently makes the right decisions in the backfield.

    Final Word: When just talking about his talent and ability to carry the football, Blount is one of the most intriguing backs in the 2010 class. He is a powerful ball carrier that has the athletic ability to break one loose down the field. He has underrated speed and quickness and I’ve seen him make some cuts that very few backs are capable of at 240+ pounds. Like every prospect however, the intangibles/character have to be looked in to and unfortunately for Blount, there are a few red flags. The beginning of his 2009 offseason training involved him being suspended for missing workouts and struggling academically. The well documented punch to a Boise State player following the week one loss put Blount on the bench for almost the entire year. Considering he was a junior college transfer prior to his strong 2008 season, having just one year of Division I experience under his belt is a concern. However the strong week he had at the Senior Bowl showed the kind of ability he has. He will be a gamble but the upside is enormous, as he has the skills to be an every down back and contribute right away in a dual back system. Middle round grade that could be bumped down to the 5th-6th round area because of the red flags with his character.

    http://www.newerascouting.com/02/legarr ... ng-report/

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    Re: NFLDraftScout Preview: The Running Backs

    He did come in for a visit. If he did turn it around I wonder what the steelers think of him after the visit.
    I think he will end up being a good player for being say a 5th rd pick. If he can say out of any trouble.

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    Re: NFLDraftScout Preview: The Running Backs

    Should be interesting if Blount & Kyle Wilson are selected by the Steelers...
    Schiavone's Race Career:

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    Re: NFLDraftScout Preview: The Running Backs

    Gerhart readies for coming draft

    Monday, April 5th, 2010

    Running back and Heisman finalist Toby Gerhart took a leave of absence for winter quarter to undergo rigorous training in preparation for the NFL combine, working to improve his straight-line speed and receiving skills. (Courtesy of Mike Lee/Daily Trojan)
    Toby Gerhart declared for the NFL Draft in early January. Since then, his life has been a whirlwind of workouts, medical testing, interviews and drills. From training six days a week in Irvine, Calif., to performing in front of a legion of scouts, coaches and front office personnel at the Combine, Gerhart has been in full preparation mode for months. He’s aware of the stakes – impressing NFL staffs, and thus solidifying an early round status, could mean a difference of millions of dollars. And so he works.

    No one can dispute Gerhart’s success at the collegiate level. The 2009 Heisman runner-up ran for 3,522 yards and 43 touchdowns in his career. He started for two full seasons. The numbers are eye-opening, but production alone does not a good NFL prospect make. The offseason leading up to the draft provides an avenue for teams to evaluate a player’s athleticism and character, which, along with amateur accomplishment, helps them project future success.

    “Everyone said I had the intangibles, the background, the intelligence in terms of understanding the game, and great tape,” Gerhart said. “I had years of tape where I ran for a lot of yards and a lot of touchdowns, but then there are certain measurables, between the 40 [yard dash] and my official height and weight and vertical, that matter, too.”

    Before doing all of the requisite drills at the meat market known as the NFL Combine, the perception of Gerhart was that he was a good but not great athlete who may be a step slow and too one-dimensional for the next level. His draft status fluctuated anywhere from the late first round to the fourth. He was viewed as a fullback and not a running back. With so much riding on his performances in group and individual workouts, Gerhart took a leave of absence from Stanford for winter quarter, dropped off the baseball team and moved south to train at the Velocity Sports Performance Center. There, he spent hours per day on his lateral and linear speed, cone work, pass catching, interview tactics, play diagramming and so on.

    “It was just straight training. I liked that. I didn’t have to worry about school, I didn’t have to worry about anything else, I was just 100 percent into training,” he said.
    There were two areas of his game that required particular attention: his straight-line speed and receiving abilities. He was generally seen as a bruiser that did not have a terrible amount of quickness; such players rarely find extensive success at running back at the next level. Additionally, he did not catch too many balls at Stanford it was rarely a large part of the Cardinal game plan during his career so teams did not have a good read on whether or not he could be a force in the passing game. Lastly, there was a medical question: Gerhart tore his ACL as a sophomore and was forced to miss practically the entire season, and any lingering effects could damage his draft stock.

    And so Gerhart trained, then he trained some more. For the first time in his life, he was focusing solely on football instead of dropping weight to become a better baseball player, he was able to instead work on crafting his body to NFL specifications.

    “I spent the day working out. I was in the best shape of my life. In terms of body fat, speed, everything was going nicely,” Gerhart said of his time in Irvine.

    Then came the Combine in late February, where Gerhart was able to show off his abilities. Medically, his knee checked out his MRIs and x-rays were examined by doctors from every team. His weigh-in produced no surprises: 6-foot-0, 231 pounds, just about where he was listed as a Cardinal. But that was simply the calm before the storm: the drills were ultimately what mattered, and Gerhart excelled.

    “We started out with the vertical [jump], and that went really well. Then there was the broad jump, and that went pretty well,” he said. “Then we got down to the 40 and for me, everything was riding on the 40. I was confident.”

    “You finish your 40 and you have no idea what you’ve ran. They don’t tell you your time,” he continued. “I checked my cell phone to see if anyone was texting me. One of my roommates from Stanford just posted “Hell yeah!” as a text message so I thought, ‘Well, it must have been pretty good.’”

    Indeed, it was: he ran a 4.53 in the event, a very fast time for a man his size. With one run, he had answered a wealth of questions. When he performed flawlessly in receiving drills, it was the icing on the cake to what was seen, uniformly, as an excellent Combine performance.

    “I got a lot of positive feedback,” Gerhart said. “I didn’t see the television broadcast, but my parents said they were expecting me to run mid to high 4.6s, so by running a 4.53 it opened a lot of people’s eyes and showed I was much faster than people thought. It solidified my draft stock a little more, and it solidified me playing running back at the next level.”

    Post Combine, Gerhart begin individual workouts. The New York Jets flew their running backs coach out to put him through drills last week; he will have a similar meeting with the Denver Broncos this week. He has already flown out to meet the San Diego Chargers, and will visit the facilities of the Baltimore Ravens and Philadelphia Eagles.
    “It’s exciting, but it’s also crazy. You talk to teams and you may get a good feeling from them, but then they don’t draft you, and a team you never talked to is someone who picks you,” he said.

    The draft is less than three weeks away. For now, Gerhart has established himself as a late first to mid second round prospect. He’s back at Stanford to finish his final 13 units; he’ll graduate on time in June. He’ll be at home on draft weekend, surrounded by friends and family.

    “I think we’re going to have fun and enjoy the process and wait for a phone call. Hopefully it comes earlier rather than later and we can celebrate.”

    http://www.stanforddaily.com/2010/04/05 ... ing-draft/

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    Re: NFLDraftScout Preview: The Running Backs

    Meet C.J. Spiller, the NFL's next 'all-purpose dynamo' tailback

    By Gary Mihoces, USA TODAY


    He entered the world as Clifford Spiller Jr. He'll enter the NFL draft as the more familiar C.J. Spiller, and his name figures to be called early in the first round.

    As a senior running back last season at Clemson, Spiller was the Atlantic Coast Conference player of the year. He racked up big yards and touchdowns as a runner, receiver and kick-return man. Of his 51 career touchdowns at Clemson, 21 came on plays of 50 yards or more.

    Heisman Trophy voters took some notice, but he finished sixth in the 2009 balloting. Clemson fans took issue. Spiller does not.

    "I'll let everybody else in Clemson be disappointed, but to me, they voted who they thought was the best," he said.

    NFL teams begin to cast their ballots April 22. Spiller is ranked as the No. 1 running back available and the No. 6 prospect overall, according to NFLDraftScout.com, USA TODAY's scouting service.

    Last season, Spiller had 1,212 yards rushing and 503 yards receiving. His 21 touchdowns included four on kickoff returns and one on a punt return. On a 92-yard kickoff return against Maryland, he ran most of the way to the end zone with one shoe. "I wasn't going to let that stop me from running," he said.

    Obviously, he's fast. He made that official at the NFL combine by running the 40-yard dash in 4.27 seconds. He felt no need to run for the stopwatches again at Clemson's March 11 pro day. "Everyone knows that I'm fast," he said.

    The combination of speed and versatility reminds ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper of two current NFL game-breakers.

    "Spiller to me is the all-purpose dynamo that a Reggie Bush (New Orleans Saints) was, that a Felix Jones (Dallas Cowboys) was," Kiper said. "He gives you so many dimensions and so much versatility as a runner, receiver, return man — not just a kickoff returner but a punt returner. To me, he can do all those things and give you that all-purpose yardage and be a great decoy when he's in the game just like Reggie Bush is at New Orleans.

    "He'll take (defenders) with him. That's what happens when you have a guy with that kind of speed and explosiveness."

    NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock offers similar praise for Spiller and has advice for his future employer.

    "You've got to make a commitment to this guy as a three-phase player," Mayock said. "You've got to get him his touches as a running back, you've got to throw him the football — whether he's in-line as a tailback or you split him out wide — and think about the return game. Just this past year, he only had 31 touches in the return game — he took five to the house.

    "He's special."

    Spiller has heard the comparisons to Bush.

    "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," he said.

    Just as with Bush, there are questions about whether Spiller, who is 5-11 and 196 pounds, will have the durability to be an every-down NFL back.

    "The only thing I can do is just go out there and perform," Spiller said. "I can't worry about that. I know I play the game with a lot of passion, and I'm going to go out there and compete at the highest level, no matter my size or my height."

    He says that includes tough inside running.

    "That's pretty much what we did at Clemson," he said. "We ran inside, did a lot of zone blocking inside, did a lot of power downhill running. I think by me doing that, hopefully I showed people I can also be an inside runner as well as a good outside runner."

    Though he could have entered the draft a year ago, Spiller opted to return for his senior season. He earned his degree in sociology in December, graduating in 3½ years.

    "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.

    Music to an NFL coach's ears.

    "I took a whole lot of classes my freshman year and didn't hardly go home that much," Spiller said. "It just took a lot of hard work, and it paid off for me in the end."

    He said the degree was his big motivation in coming back.

    "I wanted to be an example to younger guys and to my younger sister as well," he said. "Education can take you a long way."

    On his graduation day, Spiller got a standing ovation from Clemson's board of trustees.

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

    He now is on the verge of graduating to the NFL. One typical adjustment for rookie running backs is handling the blocking required against blitzing pass rushers.

    "It all comes down to a guy (who has) the will that you want to do it. You can have great technique and all, but the ultimate goal is you've got to have to do it," Spiller said.

    He was schooled on blitz pickups while with the Tigers.

    "The coaches put me in a great position the past two years of pass protection," he said. "It's all about recognizing the blitz."

    He's also eager to return kicks in the NFL.

    "That's something I love to do," he said. "Special teams can win or lose a game for you. That's something I enjoy doing. I think I'm pretty good at doing it."

    Spiller is good at doing a lot of things. That's why he figures to go early on draft day.

    "As a little kid, it's something that you always dreamed about, playing in the NFL," he said.

    "You just do whatever it takes to get to that level."

    http://www.usatoday.com/sports/football ... ller_N.htm

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