September 22, 2009

Return vaults Spiller to top of power rankings

Rivals.com Power Rankings by Position: QB | RB | WR | TE | OL | DL | LB | DB | ST
Coaches Power Rankings: Head Coach | Off. Coordinator | Def. Coordinator

As if he hadn't already accomplished enough during his college career, Clemson running back C.J. Spiller just added one more item to his resume.

Spiller scored on a punt return Saturday for the first time since he arrived at Clemson. His 77-yard return accounted for the Tigers' only touchdown in a 25-7 victory over Boston College.

The big return made Spiller the new No. 1 special-teams performer in the latest edition of the Rivals.com College Football Power Rankings, which measure the nation's top performers at each position.

"The guys up front did a great job blocking for me," Spiller said. "We saw how they were going to punt all week, so once they made their blocks and I saw it open, I just tried to put a foot down and use my speed. It felt great to get that punt return. I've been waiting about four years to get it."

Spiller's punt return marked the fifth way he has scored a touchdown in his college career. He also has scored on a kickoff return, reception, run from scrimmage and a pass.

When Spiller opened the season with a 96-yard kickoff return in a 37-14 triumph over Middle Tennessee, it marked the fifth time in his career that he had returned a kickoff for a touchdown. He has 15 career touchdown plays of 50 yards or more.

Spiller's rise in the power rankings allowed him to take the No. 1 spot from Alabama's Javier Arenas, who also had a big week with a 46-yard punt return in a 53-7 rout of North Texas.

That represented the only change at the top of the power rankings this week.

Florida quarterback Tim Tebow, California running back Jahvid Best, Oklahoma State wide receiver Dez Bryant, BYU tight end Dennis Pitta, Oklahoma State offensive tackle Russell Okung, Oklahoma defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, Alabama linebacker Rolando McClain, Tennessee strong safety Eric Berry, Florida coach Urban Meyer, Oklahoma offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson and Florida defensive coordinator Charlie Strong remained atop their respective positions.

Perhaps the biggest change in the power rankings involves the absence of two notable players. Notre Dame wide receiver Michael Floyd, Arizona tight end Rob Gronkowski and USF quarterback Matt Grothe were removed from the rankings because of injuries that could keep them out for the rest of the season. Floyd is expected to miss the rest of the regular season after breaking his clavicle Saturday in a 33-30 victory over Michigan State. Gronkowski is undergoing back surgery this week and will sit out the season, while Grothe also is out for the season because of a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.

The power rankings include injured players if they're expected to miss only a few weeks; we remove players who aren't expected to return during the season.

The ranking of a player and coach can fluctuate each week during the season depending on how he fared the previous week. The power rankings measure overall career performances as well as their most recent results.

The ranking of a player and coach can fluctuate each week during the season depending on how he fared the previous week. The power rankings measure overall career performances as well as their most recent results.

Rivals.com Power Rankings by Position: QB | RB | WR | TE | OL | DL | LB | DB | ST
Coaches Power Rankings: Head Coach | Off. Coordinator | Def. Coordinator

Steve Megargee is a national writer for Rivals.com. He can be reached at smegargee@rivals.com.



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