C.J. Spiller: Florida Did Nothing Illegal

On Monday before National Signing Day, C.J. Spiller, the ultra-fast five-star running back from Lake Butler Union County called his buddy Tim Tebow and they talked for a few minutes, just like they did on most days during the recruiting process. At the end of the conversation, Spiller invited Tebow to come up to Lake Butler on Tuesday and Tebow invited Spiller to come to Gainesville on Thursday.

(C.J. Spiller profile)

And that's exactly what they did.

"We're just a couple of guys that like hanging with each other," said Spiller in a phone conversation with Gator Country Tuesday afternoon. "We've been friends a long time so us hanging around has never been a big deal, just something we like to do."

The Anderson (SC) Independent-Mail has been trying to make a big deal out of it. On May 5, Independent-Mail columnist John Brasier printed innuendo that Florida had committed NCAA recruiting violations by sending Tebow up to Lake Butler the day before signing day. In its Tuesday edition, reporter Greg Wallace wrote:

"Sources close to the Clemson football program said recently that the Florida football program attempted an end run on star Tiger recruit and Lake Butler, Fla., native C.J. Spiller by sending star quarterback Tim Tebow to spend time with him on Jan. 31 --- the night before national signing day --- attempting to get Spiller to sign with Florida."

Spiller says that when he and Tebow visited that day before signing day, they talked about a lot of things but not much was said about recruiting.

"What's funny about the Anderson paper saying that is they don't know Tim and me," said Spiller. "Tim NEVER tried to recruit me to Florida. He joked around a lot and he'd say it would be fun playing football with me at Florida or things like that but that's about it. We talked a lot about the pressure of recruiting and making good decisions.

"He knew exactly where I was coming from when I couldn't hardly sleep much before signing day. He went through the same thing the nights before he said he was going to Florida. It was good having him around because he didn't talk recruiting and everybody else wanted to."

On signing day, Spiller pulled a mild surprise by announcing for Clemson. Tebow was already enrolled in Florida.

And, on Thursday, just as they had planned when they talked on Monday, Spiller drove down to Gainesville and hung around with Tebow.

"That's what we did," said Spiller. "Just because I chose Clemson and Tim's at Florida doesn't mean we're not friends. We were friends before, we're friends now and we'll always be friends. Nothing changes because we're at different schools."

The contact that Tebow and Spiller had that Tuesday was without the knowledge or sanction of the University of Florida coaching staff. When the Florida staff discovered that Tebow had visited with Spiller in Lake Butler it acted immediately by passing along the incident to the SEC office.

In a statement to Gator Country, Florida Sports Information Director Steve McClain said, "The University of Florida passed along information on signing day (February 1st) to the SEC that Tim Tebow was at C.J.'s house the day before. It was well documented that the two had been friends for quite some time before the recruiting process and Tebow did not visit there with the knowledge of anyone from the coaching staff or University. The moment university officials found out they shared the information with the SEC office."

Bob Tebow, Tim's father, called the allegations by the Anderson newspaper "ridiculous … the first I've heard of such a thing."

Earlier in the week, Bob Tebow had a brief visit with a Clemson coach at a high school football practice.

"I saw Dabo Swinney (Clemson assistant coach) in person the other day at a Nease practice and he didn't say anything about anything like that," said Bob Tebow. "He was friendly like he always is."

Tim Tebow and Spiller became friends months before signing day. They roomed together at the Florida-California Bowl game and at the US Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio, where you saw Spiller you saw Tebow or vice-versa.

"They've been friends for a long, long time," said Bob Tebow. "C.J. Spiller came to over to a lot of Timmy's games and Timmy went over to Lake Butler to see him. They played in all-star games together … they're just kids who are great friends and they're friends no matter where they're going to school.

"This is just a ridiculous allegation. That's all I'm going to say about it."

Spiller said that he and Tebow still talk although not quite as much the last few weeks because of spring practice at Florida and final examinations.

"We still talk a lot," he said. "We talk every time we get a chance. We're friends … we're buddies. That was a false report that said he was sent to recruit me. Florida didn't do nothing illegal."

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