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Spiller earns a spot in the College Football Hall of Fame

Former Clemson All-American C.J. Spiller has been selected to be a member of the College Football Hall of Fame Class of 2021
Credit: WGRZ

The National Football Foundation announced today that Clemson legend C.J. Spiller has been selected for induction into the College Football Hall of Fame as a member of the Class of 2021. Spiller earned the distinction in only his second year of eligibility.

Spiller is one of 11 players and two coaches in the 2021 College Football Hall of Fame Class selected from the national ballot. The class will be officially inducted during the 63rd NFF Annual Awards Dinner on Dec. 7 alongside the 2020 Hall of Fame Class, whose ceremony was postponed due to COVID-19.

Spiller becomes Clemson’s eighth inductee in the College Football Hall of Fame. John Heisman, who coached Clemson from 1900-03, was Clemson’s first inductee as part of the Class of 1954. Clemson coach and administrator Jess Neely was inducted in 1971. Frank Howard, Clemson’s all-time winningest coach, followed with induction in 1989. Danny Ford, who led Clemson to the 1981 national championship at the age of 33, was Clemson’s most recent inductee, entering the Hall in 2017.

Spiller will be the fourth Clemson player to earn induction, joining multi-sport legend Banks McFadden (1959) as well as two members of Clemson’s 1981 national championship defense — Terry Kinard (2001) and Jeff Davis (2007).

Spiller’s historic Clemson career spanned 2006-09, culminating with a senior season in which he finished sixth in Heisman Trophy voting after winning ACC Player of the Year and being selected as a unanimous first-team All-American. That season, Spiller scored 21 touchdowns and became the first player in ACC history to gain 1,000 yards rushing and 500 yards receiving in the same season.

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.

One of the most exciting players in the sport’s history, Spiller had 21 career touchdowns covering at least 50 yards. He had eight kick returns for touchdowns in his career, most in ACC history. In the spring of 2010, he was the ninth overall selection in the NFL Draft by the Buffalo Bills. He went on to play eight years in the NFL and was selected to the Pro Bowl in 2012.

Of the 5.47 million individuals who have played college football since Princeton first battled Rutgers on Nov. 6, 1869, only 1,038 players and 223 coaches have been immortalized in the Hall, including those slated for induction in the Class of 2021. Selection to the Hall of Fame puts those who earn the distinction in the top 0.02 percent of those who have played or coached college football.

Spiller, whose No. 28 is retired at Clemson, was inducted into the Clemson Athletic Hall of Fame this past fall and is also slated for induction into the South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame this spring. The 2009 graduate of Clemson University also now serves as a graduate coaching intern at Clemson in addition to serving as a member of the IPTAY Board of Directors.

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)