It’s hard to recall the last time a freshman running back has received so much praise from the Clemson coaching staff.
The moment Will Shipley stepped foot on campus he started impressing the Clemson coaching staff. Even before he stepped onto the field, it was apparent there was something different about the young freshman. According to coaches, it could be seen in the way he carried himself.
Once he got on the field, the praise continued. Throughout spring practice, players and coaches alike marveled at Shipley. Now that the team is well into fall camp, that praise has continued.
Offensive coordinator Tony Elliott says that Shipley is obviously still learning, but it’s his willingness to learn that really stands out.
“Even though he may not know exactly what he’s doing, he’s still going to go to the front of the line,” Elliott said.
Elliott says there’s just something different about Shipley when compared to most freshman and that a lot of it has to do with the confidence he has in himself.
“He has a confidence about himself,” Elliott said. “A confidence in his ability, but it’s not an arrogance. And that confidence is that he will put in the work and he has the ability to learn. He’s going to give everything that he has every single play, and not just here but in everything that he does. He’s an exceptional young man.”
A desire to be the best started for Shipley long before he got to Clemson, though. Elliott said that it stretches back to his high school days in North Carolina and is continuing throughout his first season as a Tiger.
“You go look at his academic record in high school,” Elliott said. “Been a 4.0 student since he got here. He’s fully bought into the PAW Journey as a freshman. Most freshman, they don’t quite understand what that concept is all about until later in their career when they have the chance to be exposed to it, but he’s dived in head-first. He wants to be a leader, he wants to be great, and that resonates in everything that he does.”
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