For some, Will Shipley was just another name on a recruiting list. For others he was the next 5-star stud to arrive on campus. For those who weren’t familiar with him, how fast we became enlightened.
Shipley is now recognized on the national stage and rightfully so. He’s got that ‘it’ factor, but the most beautiful part of that is this, he doesn’t care a bit about ‘it.’
Shipley possesses tremendous talent, yet he’s refreshingly humble. He is a great competitor but he’s an even better teammate. He’s quiet, until he slips on his invincibility cloak, then, he lets his play do the talking.
His cloak, is orange, emblazoned with the Paw that on game day, he can seemingly do almost anything, leaving one to suspect his ego might be growing as big as his on the field success. Don’t believe it. He’s one of those rare young men that understands it’s all about the team, not just about him. He appears almost unaware or maybe uninterested in his own greatness.
Even having missed several games this past season due to injury, he still complied Impressive statistics.
- Attempts 149, Yards 739, TD 11, YPC 5.0, TD 11
- Receptions 16, Yards 116, YPC 7.3
Within the new landscape of college sports, student-athletes are able to financially benefit from their name, image and likeness. While some young men are receiving “deals” upwards of five, even six figures, most are less ostentatious.
Shipley took a suggestion from his coach, Dabo Swinney, using the #ShipHappens slogan, and entered the NIL market. He announced his deal with Tiger Town Graphics and he pledged a portion of his profits from his signature T-shirts to a children’s hospital near his hometown of Weddington, NC. That act of charity is endearing to most members of the Clemson Family.
Now, in the midst of this dark, never-never land known as the offseason, Shipley is already hearing his name associated with several national award’s watchlists and All-American rosters. While no one ever knows how these things will play out, I believe regardless, Will Shipley will be unfazed.
His job, his role, is that of a contributing member of the team, not placing himself greater than any of his teammates. He’s already one of the leaders on offense. It’s refreshing and unusual at most places but not Clemson. It’s become (with a few exceptions) a place that fosters and helps guide these unselfish, almost selfless young men to manhood.
Back to the field, just seeing him wiggle/slither his way through the defense to scamper down field is impressive enough but he really shines on those short runs where he uses his Herculean leg strength to keep going, picking up extra yardage, until the whistle blows. He is powerful and his ‘can do’ attitude is special. Some, if not all of his runs look like poetry in motion and those watching can’t wait to see the growth, improvement that this offseason will bring.
I’ve made it a point to listen to every interview that Will Shipley has given and one resounding theme shines through. This young man is the real deal and is having fun. If the fun ‘is in the winning,’ I predict both Shipley, his brothers in the running back room and Tigers everywhere will be having lots of fun next season. Everybody needs a little poetry in their life and thanks to Shipley, it’s everywhere.
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