Half a dozen five-star prospects in the class of 2021 visited Clemson to attend Saturday’s 24-10 win over Texas A&M.
One of the five-stars on hand was Matthews (N.C.) Weddington’s Will Shipley, the nation’s No. 1-ranked all-purpose back.
It marked Shipley’s first game experience at Death Valley, and he was beyond impressed.
“The game atmosphere was everything I expected and even a little bit more,” Shipley told The Clemson Insider. “From everything I’ve heard, it’s kind of hard to exceed those expectations, but it managed to do it. Just to see how Clemson dominated and controlled the whole game really, it was awesome to see that.”
Shipley took notice of the way the Tigers utilized their running backs, particularly Travis Etienne who posted career highs with four receptions for 52 receiving yards – something head coach Dabo Swinney brought up in his postgame speech which Shipley was able to listen in on.
“Coach mentioned that after the game in the locker room, that Travis Etienne had his career-high receiving yards,” Shipley said. “That’s huge. I love being put out of the backfield, being able to catch some balls and get into open field. And then also just how they run the football, how dominant their O-line is, it’s something that you look at and you can’t not be interested in wanting to run behind something like that.”
Before the game, Shipley had a chance to spend time with his area recruiter for Clemson, assistant coach Danny Pearman, as well as running backs coach Tony Elliott.
“It was incredible,” Shipley said. “I got there a little bit early. I was on the first bus over to the facility. I got to sit down and eat some lunch with Coach Pearman, which is nice because he’s the one that’s been recruiting me for a couple years now. And then we headed over to the stadium, got to spend a couple minutes with Coach Elliott, just kind of talked some game with him.”
Shipley was accompanied on the visit by his mother and father, both of whom are NC State alums.
“They were amazed by the whole thing,” Shipley said. “That’s really the first atmosphere that they’ve gotten to see that was that awesome. Those were kind of their only words to explain it. There was a point in the game – I think it was a third down for Texas A&M – where my mom was talking to me, and I couldn’t even hear her. She had to tap me on the shoulder. … But both of them just really enjoyed it and they can definitely see me at a place like that.”
Shipley, who holds over two dozen offers, is considering a handful of schools at this point in the process. He doesn’t plan to make a decision until after his junior season, sometime before next summer.
Clemson remains one of the top contenders in Shipley’s recruitment, and his visit this past weekend only added to the program’s appeal.
“I would say (the visit) kind of just added to their file,” he said. “All the great things that were already in there, it just kind of added to them I would say. I finally got to see the game atmosphere, see the players, all that type of stuff, how disciplined their football team is. They’ve got so many great components, so to be able to see that was incredible. As it goes, Clemson is still close to the top of my list.”
Shipley said he’s considering a trip to Virginia for its game versus Florida State on Saturday. He is set to visit Notre Dame for its game against Southern Cal on Oct. 12 and plans to attend NC State’s home contest versus Clemson on Nov. 9. Shipley also told TCI that he could return to Death Valley for another game later this season.
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