CLEMSON – OK, let's get this straight.
Is it the Buffalo Tigers or the Clemson Bills?
"Works either way," says C.J. Spiller.
True enough. With six former Clemson players on their roster, the Buffalo Bills certainly have provided an NFL pipeline for a bevy of former Tigers, with Spiller being foremost among them.
So could a satellite Clemson campus in Buffalo be in the offing?
"We're working on it," Spiller said.
In the meantime, Spiller was content to spend last weekend at Clemson, conducting his youth football camp for a third consecutive year and keeping his connection to the school alive and thriving.
"People say I gave so much to this university, but they gave me an opportunity," Spiller said. "Coach (Dabo) Swinney didn't have to recruit me eight years ago, but he took a chance when nobody thought I'd ever commit here.
"He always believed and that's the thing I loved about him. He believed in me and once that happened I fell in love with this place."
It may seem difficult to believe, but Spiller is about to enter his fifth NFL season. Perhaps the most electrifying playmaker in Clemson football history, the Lake Butler, Fla., native has established himself at the highest level as well, achieving Pro Bowl status and rushing for more than 3,000 yards.
Now he'll be joined on the Bills' roster by Sammy Watkins, a player of similar ilk who also drew countless oohs and aahs during his three seasons at Clemson.
The Bills traded up to nab Watkins with the No. 4 overall selection on May 8.
"Once I saw the trade go up I pretty much knew that's who they wanted and I was happy for him," Spiller said. "I had selfish reasons, but I was happy for him, because I know he'd worked so hard for that opportunity in his life. To see him fulfill his dream of playing in the NFL meant a lot."
Former Clemson cornerback Darius Robinson signed a three-year free agent contract with the Bills on May 10, pushing the number of Clemson alums on the roster to six and giving Spiller even more reason to smile.
"The organization does a great job of finding great players," Spiller said. "And a lot of them happen to be right here at our university."
With four seasons under his belt, Spiller suddenly finds himself the elder statesmen of the Clemson contingent. But he appears ready to embrace the role.
"Yeah, I guess I'm the oldest one up there, but it feels great to be a veteran," Spiller said. "Time doesn't slow down for anyone. That's why you have to take advantage of every opportunity, and that's what I've been trying to do."
Spiller imparted a similar message during his two-day youth camp, which he said stresses other aspects of life in addition to football.
In short, he wants the players of the future to be savvy and educated.
"When I went to camps as a kid they didn't have other stuff outside of football," Spiller said. "So I wanted to incorporate other things when I started my camps and that's what we've done."
Spiller said each camper had to create and sell a product, then undergo a crash course in social media.
"I told them that it's so easy now with Facebook and Twitter and Instagram, but you've got to watch what you put out there," Spiller said. "I want them to learn to be careful."
In fact, the same holds true for Watkins, who already has indicated that he'll rely on Spiller for guidance and advice.
In fact, Watkins, who like Spiller is a Florida native, has said that Spiller's decision to attend Clemson heavily influenced his decision to follow suit. So perhaps it's only fitting that the most most explosive players in Clemson history would wind up playing for the same team.
"This could not be a better situation for Sammy," Swinney said following Watkins' selection by the Bills. "The first thing I said to Sammy's mother is that he could not have a better mentor than C.J. Spiller. He'll show Sammy the ropes."
Spiller already is imparting his advice.
"I tell him to take it one day at a time and not let it overwhelm him," Spiller said. "He needs to go out there and just be himself. He doesn't have to come and be Superman. We have a great running game to take a lot of pressure off, he just needs to keep doing what he's been doing. I think he understands that."
That being said, Spiller is predicting great things for his newest teammate.
"I'm looking forward to watching him and being on the field with him," Spiller said. "I've seen him play a ton of times since he's been at Clemson, but now I get to see him first-hand out there on the field. He can be a star. He has the knowledge and understands defenses, so we'll see how it goes."
For now, the Bills' locker room remains predominantly blue and red, but perhaps a touch of orange could be in the offing?
"We're already getting teased up there about being the Clemson Bills," Spiller said. "So we'll probably have to throw a little bit of orange around up there somewhere."