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Spiller Compares Favorably with All-Purpose Greats

Spiller Compares Favorably with All-Purpose Greats

Oct. 7, 2009

It is difficult to quantify the all-around accomplishments of Clemson running back C.J. Spiller this year and over his career. He became the ACC’s career leader at Maryland when he had 176 all-purpose yards and now has 5941 for his career. He needs just 59 to become the first ACC player in history with 6000 all-purpose yards. He is on pace to reach the 7,000-yard mark by the end of the season, something only three previous FBS players have accomplished.

Entering the October 17 game with Wake Forest he has 2695 yards rushing, 1074 yards receiving, 1631 yards in kickoff returns and 541 in punt returns. In the TCU game last Saturday he joined former Heisman Trophy winner Reggie Bush of Southern California as the only FBS players in history with at least 2500 yards receiving, 1000 yards rushing 1500 in kickoff returns and 500 in punt returns.

Spiller’s impact on the game can be compared with some previous Heisman winners, or near Heisman winners who handled the ball as all-purpose players. Below is a comparison of season and career stats for Spiller, Tim Brown (Notre Dame 1984-87), Rocket Ismail (Notre Dame 1988-90), Desmond Howard (Michigan 1989-91) and Reggie Bush (Southern California, 2003-05).

So far this year, Spiller is averaging 207 yards per game. Only Bush and his 222.3 average during the 2005 season, is higher. Brown averaged 173.4 in 1987, his Heisman year, and Ismail averaged 156.4 in 1990, the year he finished second in the Heisman balloting. Howard averaged 155 yards per game in 1991 when he won the Heisman.

Spiller has 16 touchdowns of 50 yards or more in his career, including four already this year. Ismail had 13, Reggie Bush had 13, and Tim Brown had nine. Howard’s career total unavailable at this time.

Spiller already has three kick returns for touchdowns this year, two on kickoffs and one on a punt. All have been at least 77 yards in length. He has had a play of at least 60 yards in each game so far this year.

Comparison of All-Purpose Players Final Seasons
Category Tim Brown Ismail Howard Bush Spiller
Year 1987 1990 1991 2005 2009
Games 12 12 12 13 5
All-Purpose Yards 2085 1877 1859 2890 1033
Yards/Game 173.8 156.4 154.9 222.3 206.6
Total TDs 8 6 21 18 5
Touches 143 141 110 283 109
Yards/Play 14.6 13.3 16.9 10.2 9.5
Rushes 34 67 13 200 85
Rushing Yards 144 537 180 1740 360
Rush TDs 1 3 2 16 1
Receptions 45 32 62 37 10
Reception Yards 951 699 985 478 157
Yards/Reception 21.1 21.8 15.9 12.9 15.7
Rec. TDs 4 2 19 2 1
Kickoff Returns 29 14 15 28 9
KOR Yards 585 336 412 493 334
KOR Average 20.2 24.0 27.5 17.6 37.1
KOR TDs 0 1 1 0 2
Punt Returns 35 13 20 18 5
Punt Return Yards 405 151 282 179 182
Punt Return Average 11.6 11.6 14.1 9.9 36.4
Punt Return TDs 3 0 1 1 1
Total TDs via Return 3 1 2 1 3
TDs 50 Yards or More 4 5 4 3 4
Comparison of All-Purpose Players for Career
Category Tim Brown Ismail Howard Bush Spiller
Career 1984-87 1988-90 1989-91 2003-05 2006-09
Games 43 34 30 39 43
All-Purpose Yards 5024 4187 3943 6551 5941
AP Yards/Game 116.8 123.1 131.4 168.0 138.3
Total TDs 22 15 37 42 35
Touches 340 273 228 639 682
Rushes 98 131 23 433 475
Rushing Yards 442 1015 249 3169 2695
Rush TDs 4 5 2 25 21
Receptions 137 71 134 95 97
Reception Yards 2493 1565 2146 1301 1074
Yards/Reception 18.2 22.0 16.0 13.7 11.1
Rec. TDs 12 4 32 13 8
Kickoff Returns 69 46 45 67 60
KOR Yards 1613 1271 1211 1522 1631
KOR Average 23.4 27.6 26.9 22.7 27.2
KOR TDs 3 5 2 1 5
Punt Returns 36 25 26 44 50
Punt Return Yards 476 336 337 559 541
Punt Return Average 13.2 13.4 13.0 12.7 10.8
Punt Return TDs 3 1 1 3 1
Total TDs via Return 6 6 3 4 6
TDs 50 Yards or More 9 13 NA 13 16

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