Matthews (N.C.) Weddington five-star all-purpose back Will Shipley had wanted to use this spring to take a final round of visits and then focus in on making his college choice.
However, his plan has been put on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic, which led to the NCAA suspending all in-person recruiting through April 15.
“I think in the month of March, I was really focusing on Stanford, Notre Dame, Clemson with a couple of other schools nearby that I was looking to get to like Georgia, NC State, UNC,” Shipley told The Clemson Insider. “Just kind of whatever visits came up, whatever visits work, we were going to try to make as many as we could in March and April, and then we were going to sit back and look at everything and decide off of all the visits I made.”
As it stands now, Shipley (5-11, 200) is looking to reschedule the trips he had planned and make more visits before moving toward a decision.
However, depending on how long the coronavirus crisis lasts, it is possible Shipley calls off those visits and goes ahead and pulls the trigger on a commitment.
“Our plan as of right now is to wait it out and reschedule those visits,” he said. “Those are some important visits to us in my decision making. Probably have a couple others in there — UNC, NC State maybe — that I was planning to get to in March, but the main ones being Stanford and Notre Dame just because they’re flights, all that stuff. Seeing how long it plays out, that decision could definitely change. I could be committing before all of it ends. We’re really not sure, but our plan as of right now is to reschedule and take those visits.”
Shipley most recently visited Clemson for its elite junior day in late January, and although he won’t be able to return to campus this month as he had hoped, he has been staying in touch with offensive coordinator/running backs coach Tony Elliott and area recruiter Danny Pearman on a regular basis.
“I’ve been talking to Coach Elliott, Coach Pearman same as I have been before, weekly,” he said. “But it’s just all great conversation. I’m bettering my relationship with both of them over the phone. I was really looking forward to getting to Clemson — I think I was going the 27th of March — just to get to spend some time with them, get to see a spring practice and everything. That would have been really cool, really good, but over-the-phone conversations with Coach Pearman and Coach Elliott have been great over the break so far.”
Nothing has changed as far as where the Tigers stand with Shipley, and that’s a good thing as they remain locked in as one of the major players in his recruitment.
“Clemson, I think you don’t even have to say that they’re one of the best programs in the nation,” he said. “That doesn’t only speak for on the field, how well they’ve been, how successful they’ve been in the football side of things. Just the program they have, the people that are involved in the program and how they run it, it’s going to be a school that when it comes down to it is going to play a major role in my decision, and I think I could end up there. I could also end up at a couple other places, but Clemson has really solidified a spot in those top schools.”
Whenever Shipley sits down with his family to make a decision, they will weigh a few important factors while considering his top college choices.
“I think we can start off with academics and then kind of go along the lines of just team atmosphere, relationships with coaches, how I see myself in the offense and just that feeling,” Shipley said. “I’ve heard it from a bunch of people, but just that feeling when you step on campus, when you walk off of it, it’s like, ‘That’s the place I’m supposed to be.’ So, those are really what we’re basing it off of.”
In the meantime, Clemson’s coaching staff is receiving additional help recruiting Shipley in the form of some of the program’s commitments who are trying to get him to jump on board with them.
“I speak to a good amount of them, the most probably being Ryan (Linthicum),” Shipley said. “Me and him actually played lacrosse against each other back in the day. We speak pretty often. I’ve got to speak to a couple of them – Jordan Hancock, when he committed, I got to spit a couple words back and forth with him. But it’s been really good. It’s a great group of guys and a group of guys I could see myself being friends with for the rest of my life.”
Shipley is ranked as the No. 1 all-purpose back in the country by both Rivals and 247Sports, while the 247Sports Composite considers him the No. 20 overall prospect in the 2021 class.
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