There was a word Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney used to describe incoming running back Will Shipley. “Unique.”
Fans have been waiting patiently in anticipation to see if Shipley, the top all-purpose back in the country, can be the next big-time running back to play at Clemson since the day he committed to the Tigers. There is no questioning his talent level, as Shipley is a five-star prospect that ranks No. 31 overall in the 247 Composite.
Swinney definitely feels that he can be that guy and had a number of good things to say about him this past week while talking to Adam Gorney from Rivals. When asked about his talent, Swinney made it clear just how good Shipley, who consistently runs a sub 4.5 40, can be at the collegiate level.
“Obviously incredibly gifted and can do so many things,” Swinney said. “Biggest thing I mean, he’s fast. People don’t realize how fast he is. He’s powerful, he’s a route runner, can catch the football. I mean he’s really a complete player. A very complete player at this stage of his career.”
Swinney compared how far along Shipley is coming in to one of the greatest backs ever to play for the Tigers and the head coach made it clear that the differences are noticeable.
“It’s fun to get a guy like that. That has this great foundation,” Swinney said. “Travis Etienne was just the opposite. Raw. Played in a option type of deal and I don’t think he’d ever caught a pass. He certainly had never pass protected. So it’s exciting. But then you get a guy that’s just got this really, really good football foundation coming in. Man, we’re gonna have fun with him.”
Shipley is an early enrollee, meaning he is already on campus working out and Swinney says some of his veteran players have already been impressed by what they have seen from the young freshman.
“You know those guys out there working out and doing things and you just kind of hear a little buzz,” Swinney said. “These guys, they keep up with recruiting a little bit but they don’t really know. They’ll look and sometimes you watch tape, it’s pretty good, but then you get to see certain things in person and it’s been kind of fun because I’ve had some of the older guys go ‘Man, coach, this guy’s pretty good.’ And I’m like, ‘We try to sign guys that are good.’
New running backs coach CJ Spiller will be Shipley’s position coach. Swinney made it clear how excited he is to see the kind of impact one of the most electrifying athletes in school history can have on the uber-talented freshman back.
“Then you get a chance for Spiller, who’s the most dynamic guy I’ve coached,” Swinney said. “For him to have a chance to coach Shipley, I think will be a pretty cool thing.”