Spiller named top player in ACC
GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Multi-talented C.J. Spiller has run away with two awards from the Atlantic Coast Conference. He's looking for a third.
The Clemson all-purpose threat was named Wednesday as the league's top player following a vote of 40 members of the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association. The senior was also chosen the ACC's top offensive player.
In player of the year voting, Spiller received 29 votes to outdistance Georgia Tech quarterback Josh Nesbitt, who had eight. Virginia Tech running back Ryan Williams, the league's rookie of the year, had two votes and Yellow Jackets defensive end Derrick Morgan had one.
When Spiller received a text message with news of the award Wednesday, he said he lost it emotionally remembering all he'd gone through this year at Clemson.
"I'm happy to be named that, but my main reason coming back was to win this conference," Spiller said after practice.
The Tigers take on Georgia Tech (No. 10 ESPN/USA Today, No. 12 AP) in the ACC championship game Saturday night.
Separate ballots were cast for the offensive, defensive and overall player of the year awards. Spiller had 24 votes in offensive player of the year voting to Nesbitt's 10. Morgan was the top defensive player with 21 votes in that category, and North Carolina defensive end Robert Quinn and Clemson safety DeAndre McDaniel had seven votes apiece.
Spiller was the nation's only player this season to account for touchdowns five different ways -- rushing, passing, receiving, and on kick and punt returns -- and had passing, rushing and receiving TDs in one game, a victory against North Carolina State.
He returned four kickoffs and a punt for scores this year and has eight total returns for TDs during his career.
He scored at least once in every game this season while leading Clemson to the Atlantic Division title and its spot in the league title game. Spiller led the ACC with an average of nearly 184 all-purpose yards and was the league's fourth-leading rusher, averaging 76 yards a game.
Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said Spiller would have his No. 28 jersey retired next fall. Swinney hopes his star tailback isn't through collecting awards.
"He is the Heisman (Trophy) to me," the coach said.
Spiller is the seventh Tiger to be named player of the year and the first since Michael Dean Perry in 1987.
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press