Clemson landed a big-time commitment on Tuesday when five-star Will Shipley gave his verbal pledge to the Tigers.
In this feature, The Clemson Insider gives an in-depth breakdown on the newest addition to Clemson’s 2021 recruiting class:
Will Shipley Profile:
Hometown (High School): Matthews, N.C. (Weddington)
Height, Weight: 5-11, 200
Power Five Offers: Clemson, Alabama, Auburn, Duke, Florida, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Illinois, Maryland, NC State, North Carolina, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oregon, Penn State, South Carolina, Stanford, Tennessee, USC, Vanderbilt, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, West Virginia, Wisconsin
Ratings/Rankings: 5-star, No. 1 APB, No. 1 state, No. 24 national (247Sports Composite); 4-star, No. 2 RB, No. 2 state, No. 22 national (ESPN); 4-star, No. 1 APB, No. 2 state, No. 36 national (Rivals); 4-star, No. 1 APB, No. 3 state, No. 45 national (247Sports)
How Clemson got him:
Shipley received Clemson’s first offer to a 2021 running back last summer after working out at the Dabo Swinney Camp for the second straight year. The Tigers played host to Shipley for a couple of games in the fall, then got him back on campus for their elite junior day in January.
Clemson picked up a commitment from Loganville (Ga.) Grayson four-star running back Phil Mafah in late August but continued to pursue Shipley as an oversign candidate, and that decision paid off in a big way.
The Tigers beat out Notre Dame for Shipley, who also strongly considered schools such as NC State, North Carolina and Stanford. But in the end, the culture of Clemson’s program, the success it has had in winning championships and Shipley’s relationship with the coaching staff set the school apart for him.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the plan for Shipley was to take a final round of visits — including a return trip to Notre Dame — before rendering his decision. However, with all in-person recruiting suspended through at least the end of this month, Shipley opted to go ahead and get his commitment out of the way.
What Clemson is getting:
Shipley has drawn comparisons to Panthers star running back Christian McCaffrey, and he is who Shipley watches a lot of film on and models his game after.
Truly a complete, all-purpose back, Shipley is a threat out of the backfield catching passes in addition to the weapon he is in the run game. Shipley stands 5-foot-11 right now and weighs between 200 and 205 pounds, which is close to his desired playing weight at the next level (between 205 and 210). He has top-end speed — as evidenced by his sub-4.5 second 40-yard dash time — and can not only run by defenders but has the physicality and toughness to run through tackles as well. He is skilled at using his excellent vision to follow blocks and find running room.
Highly productive, Shipley was named the 2019 N.C. Gatorade High School Football Player of the Year after rushing for 1,639 yards and 25 touchdowns, to go with 509 receiving yards and nine more scores through the air, while leading his team to a 16-0 record and the Class 3AA state title.
Shipley is an elite player at his position and will give the Tigers another impact back in what will be a loaded running back room. When he and Mafah arrive on campus after the 2020 season, they will join fellow RBs Demarkcus Bowman, Michel Dukes, Chez Mellusi, Kobe Pryor and Lyn-J Dixon (if he returns for his senior year).
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