Asked if five-star Clemson running back signee Will Shipley is comparable to any former player he has coached, Dabo Swinney couldn’t think of anybody that is quite like Shipley.
“Not really. Not that I’ve coached,” Swinney said.
Shipley, who hails from Weddington, N.C., has drawn comparisons to his Charlotte-area idol – Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey – and that is the first name that came to Swinney’s mind when asked for a player comparison to Shipley.
“I think probably the only kid that jumps out is maybe the McCaffrey kid up there in Carolina,” Swinney said. “He’s similar to that, in that he’s powerful, he’s fast, he’s dynamic.”
Shipley enrolled at Clemson in January as a highly touted prospect ranked as the nation’s No. 1 all-purpose back in the 2021 class by multiple recruiting services.
“He can play slot, he can catch the ball out of the backfield,” Swinney said. “There’s really nothing he can’t do.”
During his career at Weddington High School, Shipley rushed for 4,173 yards on 503 carries (8.3 yards per rush) and racked up 1,411 receiving yards on 84 catches (16.8-yard average).
Despite not being able to play his senior season in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Shipley still totaled 80 touchdowns in his high school career, including 55 rushing, 23 receiving and two on defense.
The 5-foot-11, 200-pounder was named Gatorade Player of the Year in North Carolina in 2019 and led Weddington to back-to-back state titles in 2018 and 2019.
“He’s a very, very dynamic guy, and he’s big,” Swinney said. “He’s got this rare combination of size and speed and athleticism. But I haven’t had a guy like him at that size with all those intangibles to this point. So, he’s pretty unique.”