Being from the neighboring North Carolina, Will Shipley has become quite familiar with the Clemson campus. That familiarity, along with the school’s proximity to his home, was one of the things that tipped the scales in the Tigers’ favor on Tuesday. Clemson landed a commitment from highly-touted running back Shipley when the five-star prospect out of Matthews, N.C., chose the Tigers over Notre Dame, North Carolina, North Carolina State, and Stanford.
“I know for me, it’s a place I can go where the people from my town, the people that have helped me get to where I am today, where they can come watch me” Shipley told SI, “They can come see me do my thing and put on for my people.”
The culture that head coach Dabo Swinney has built at Clemson also obviously played a role. The family-like atmosphere, along with all of the success on the field, was just too much to pass up for the young running back.
“It gives me an opportunity to win national championships and create relationships with guys that are very similar to me, you know that will carry on through the rest of my life,” Shipley said. “And you know that our kids will be growing up together playing Pop Warner football and you know, the people at Clemson are the type of people that I want to do that with.”
During his time at Weddington High School, Shipley was a multisport star. Outside of football, he also played lacrosse and baseball and was even garnering some attention from college coaches for his abilities on the lacrosse field.
“I was getting recruited pretty heavily for lacrosse,” Shipley said. “As of the other day, I’ve called all those college coaches, thanked them for everything, and told them the path I’m taking. They all respected it and wished me the best of luck.”
According to Shipley, spending so much time playing lacrosse has only made him that much better of a football player. He credits the sport for not only helping him be a better football player physically, but he says it’s also helped him with the mental aspect of the game too.
“Just the quick cutting, the turning around, kind of just knowing the game,” Shipley said. “The IQ of the whole thing. It directly translates to football. It’s helped me so much with my, horizontal cutting, acceleration, quickness, change of speed. Being a multi-sport athlete, I think is the best thing that I probably ever did, in terms of getting me ready for college football and you know, being the most ready as early as I can.”
Being ready early is something else Shipley is determined to do. He is scheduled to graduate from high school in December and plans to enroll early, and now that he’s decided on where he is going to play, he can turn his attention toward helping to attract other recruits.
“I’m 100 percent going to be on the recruiting trail,” Shipley said. “I want to bring in the best class we can to win national championships. I’ve already been speaking to some guys. I am definitely going to work my butt off for Coach (Tony) Elliott and Coach Swinney to try and make their jobs a little easier.”
Now that Shipley has made his decision, he plans to take some time for himself. After being highly sought after for the past couple of years, he is ready to get back to spending some quality time with his family.
“Yeah, it’s just so relieving,” Shipley said. “This is an actual weight lifted off my shoulders. You know, I’ve been in this process for almost three years. So to kind of just get the time to finally be able to focus on giving 100% to my family, and also becoming prepared to focus on being the most ready for college football at Clemson University.”