Will Shipley - RB - Clemson

Welcome to the rookie profile for Will Shipley, a standout running back from Clemson who has captivated audiences with his dynamic playmaking ability and leadership on and off the field. His tenure at Clemson has showcased not just his prowess in rushing and receiving, but also his contributions on special teams, highlighting his versatility and adaptability.

Measurables

Height: 5′ 11″

Weight: 206 lbs

Age: 22

40-yard dash: DNP

3-cone drill: DNP

20-yard shuttle: DNP

Vertical Jump: DNP

Broad Jump: DNP

Bench Press: DNP

*age is at the start of player’s rookie year

College Stats

Rushing & Receiving Table
RushingReceivingScrimmage
YearSchoolConfClassPosGAttYdsAvgTDRecYdsAvgTDPlaysYdsAvgTD
*2021ClemsonACCFRRB101497395.011161167.301658555.211
*2022ClemsonACCSO1421011825.615382426.4024814245.715
*2023ClemsonACCJRRB121678275.05312447.9219810715.47
CareerClemson52627485.231856027.1261133505.533
Provided by CFB at Sports Reference: View Original Table
Generated 2/25/2024.

Notable Headlines

Will Shipley’s career at Clemson has been punctuated with notable achievements that underscore his evolution as a key player for the Tigers. His sophomore season was particularly remarkable, as he became the first player in ACC history to earn first-team All-ACC honors in three distinct categories: as a running back, all-purpose player, and specialist, a testament to his versatility and skill. That year, Shipley also emerged as a finalist for the Paul Hornung Award, celebrating the nation’s most versatile player, reflecting his significant contribution across multiple facets of the game. Not just limited to these accolades, Shipley consistently demonstrated his prowess on the field by being one of only three FBS players to record over 1,200 all-purpose yards in each season from 2021 to 2023, joining the ranks of college football’s most reliable and dynamic talents. 

Beyond his on-field success, Shipley’s academic achievements have paralleled his athletic accomplishments, becoming Clemson’s first Academic All-American since 2012 and the first Clemson running back ever to earn this honor, which he did twice during his tenure. His commitment to community service also saw him become a Wuerffel Trophy semifinalist and Clemson’s ninth all-time selection to the AFCA Good Works Team in 2023. Shipley’s on-field statistics further illustrate his impact, with a career total of 2,747 rushing yards and 31 touchdowns, alongside 602 receiving yards. His leadership and performance culminated in serving as a team captain, underscoring his integral role in Clemson’s offensive strategy and team dynamics.

Scouting Report

Positives

Will Shipley’s capabilities in the passing game set him apart; he is not just proficient in catching with his natural hands but also excels in turning upfield swiftly, especially in the screen game. His aptitude for setting up wheel routes showcases his understanding and strategic approach to the game. While possessing quick feet and commendable straight-line speed, it’s noted that he might lack the elite burst associated with consistent big-play threats. However, his patience as a runner has seen improvement, with a notable ability to follow pulling guards and make timely decisions on when to cut. Shipley’s agility in navigating traffic, combined with his exceptional balance and lateral agility, enables him to generate significant yardage out of seemingly impossible situations.

His expertise in working in space, likened to that of a return specialist, highlights his ability to create separation and evade defenders effectively. Further adding to his on-field prowess is his vision and explosive upfield movement upon making a decisive cut, complemented by lateral movement skills that promise the potential for big plays. In the passing game, Shipley’s versatility shines; he can flex out as a receiver, presenting mismatches against linebackers, and his contributions to the screen game are solid. An instinctive runner, Shipley’s knack for eluding defenders and making plays in space underscores his ability to be a game-changer, particularly on the perimeter where his balance, acceleration, and speed can turn a play into a significant gain

Negatives

While Will Shipley’s strengths make him a compelling NFL prospect, certain aspects of his game could pose challenges at the professional level. Critics point out that despite his quick feet and impressive straight-line speed, Shipley lacks the elite burst that transforms solid gains into breakaway touchdowns. This absence of top-tier acceleration might limit his ability to consistently produce big plays against the faster, more reactive defenses in the NFL.

Additionally, his physicality in direct contact situations has been under scrutiny; his lighter frame may not consistently power through the more robust tackles he’ll face in the league. Concerns also extend to his ability to push piles forward, as he doesn’t possess the lower-body strength some of his counterparts exhibit, potentially affecting his efficacy in short-yardage situations. Furthermore, while his patience and vision allow him to follow blocks effectively, there’s room for improvement in efficiently navigating through congestion and optimizing open cutback lanes. Shipley’s durability is another aspect that scouts are watching closely, considering the physical toll of the NFL season and his history of injuries in college

Pre Draft Analysis

Expected Draft Capital- Round 4/5

Landing Spots

The New England Patriots could find Will Shipley to be an attractive option in the 2024 NFL Draft, particularly given their ongoing quest for versatile playmakers who can be acquired with cost-effective draft capital. Shipley’s dynamic playmaking ability, both in the backfield and as a pass-catcher, fits well with a Patriots offense that has historically valued versatile running backs. His skill set could provide New England with a multifaceted weapon capable of contributing immediately, offering a much-needed spark to their offense. Moreover, Shipley’s impact could extend beyond just offensive production. The Patriots have experienced struggles in their return game, an area where Shipley has demonstrated significant capability during his time at Clemson.

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