Matthews (N.C.) Weddington High School’s Will Shipley – the nation’s No. 1-ranked all-purpose back in the 2021 class – returned to Clemson this week for the Dabo Swinney Football Camp.
Shipley, who also camped at Clemson last summer, worked out with running backs coach Tony Elliott on Wednesday.
“It was awesome,” Shipley told The Clemson Insider. “I got there in the morning. I got a chance to talk to Coach Elliott and Coach (Danny) Pearman beforehand, and then got a great opportunity to work with Coach Elliott in all the drills. It was a great experience. Coach Elliott, he has so much knowledge. I learned a lot of things that I can take on and use this season. So, it was a really good experience.”
Shipley (6-0, 180) drew compliments from Elliott about his performance at the camp.
“He thought I did really well,” Shipley said. “He likes how quick I am and my physique as a rising junior. Those are some things that he thought stood out to him. He likes my toughness and how I can split out and play some slot as well.”
Shipley and Elliott also spoke in-depth about the recruiting process and where he stands with the Tigers right now.
“He was very transparent with me on how it’s going to go,” Shipley said. “Coach Elliott offers very few running backs each class, so he’s going to take his time and evaluate how camp went, look back at the people that were there and the people that he thinks fits into the program. And in a couple of weeks, he said around a month, he’s going to let us know – all the kids that attended the camp – who he’s going to offer, who he likes in the program. So, I’m really looking forward to hearing back from him and even if it doesn’t go my way, I’m still going to be happy that I at least got the experience to work with him.”
Shipley had a chance to spend some quality time with Swinney as well while on campus.
“We got to tour the campus after the morning workout, and my family and I got to sit down with Coach Swinney and talk with him for 15 to 20 minutes,” Shipley said. “He’s incredible. He is one of my favorite head coaches that I’ve gotten to talk to so far. Just his personality, you can tell how absolutely incredibly smart he is at the game of football and how much experience he has. So, just getting to sit down and speak with him for 15, 20 minutes, it was incredible.”
Prior to the Wednesday morning camp workout, Shipley was able to chop it up with a couple of other standout prospects in the 2021 class: Cornelius (N.C.) Hough running back Evan Pryor and Chandler (Ariz.) defensive tackle Brandon Buckner, the son of former Clemson and NFL defensive lineman Brentson Buckner.
“That was my first time meeting Brandon Buckner, but he’s a really cool dude,” Shipley said. “Me and Evan have been real close since we both started getting recruited freshman year. We’ve been close for a while now. Me and him have created a really good relationship. It’s really easy to connect with him and talk about some of the things that we’re going through. So, it was awesome getting to go through camp with him.”
Up next for Shipley is a visit to North Carolina next week, while he is looking to visit Notre Dame and Alabama soon as well. He plans to visit Clemson again during the upcoming season.
Shipley has his fingers crossed in hopes of adding Clemson to an offer list that currently includes Florida, Georgia, NC State, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Penn State, South Carolina, Stanford, Tennessee, Virginia Tech and others.
“I can’t even put it into words,” Shipley said of what an offer from the Tigers would mean to him. “Just seeing what all they have – obviously they have a great reputation in college football – they’re a national championship team, but they’re so much more than that. Just being able to be involved in that for a couple hours of the day, I can really see why people love Clemson football. To get that offer, to know that those coaches could potentially have trust in me and have trust in my football ability, it would really mean something else. I really can’t put it into words.”
Shipley wants to narrow down his recruitment before the start of his junior season and intends to commit prior to his senior year in 2020. He is ranked by 247Sports as the No. 1 APB and No. 45 overall prospect in the class of 2021.
As a sophomore last season, Shipley totaled 1,417 yards rushing on 206 carries (6.9 average) with 19 rushing touchdowns. He also logged 393 yards receiving and six touchdown receptions.