Swinney raves about freshman running back

Swinney raves about freshman running back

Football

Swinney raves about freshman running back

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Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney had plenty of praise for freshman running back Will Shipley during the Orange & White spring game Saturday at Death Valley.

“He’s better than advertised,” Swinney said to Eric Mac Lain during the ACC Network’s broadcast of the spring game. “He’s going to be a great one.”

Swinney loves what he has seen this spring from Shipley, a former five-star prospect who was ranked as the nation’s No. 1 all-purpose back coming out of Weddington High School in North Carolina.

“He’s incredibly dynamic,” Swinney said. “He can return, he can catch the ball. He’s physically way ahead for a high school kid, and he can fly. I mean, he can absolutely fly, and he’s a great kid. He’s a great teammate. Guys like him. He’s going to be a fun one to watch over these next few years, for sure. Excited to see him have some opportunity today.”

While it took time for former Clemson running back Travis Etienne to become a weapon in the passing game for the Tigers – a role he had to grow into as he progressed through his career – Swinney says Shipley arrived on campus this year as a complete player already.

“You can go all the way back to C.J. Spiller in how we love to use the backs and do dynamic things with them,” Swinney said. “But Travis had to grow into that. Travis came here and we really just handed him the ball, and he had to learn all those other aspects – pass catching, route running, all those things, and he left here as a complete player.

“This kid is coming in with a complete foundation. He’s done it all in high school, so it’s very natural for him. He’s played in a similar scheme and you can see his power. He can run between the tackles, he can get on the edge. We can scheme him up in the passing game like we did Travis. So, he’ll be, like I said, a complete player early in his career for the Tigers.”

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), while scoring 80 total touchdowns (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.

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