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Clemson lands 5-star running back Shipley

Sports Contributor
Posted 5/9/20

Five-star running back Will Shipley (5-feet-11-inches, 198 pounds) of Matthews, N.C., announced a commitment to Clemson on Wednesday over Notre Dame.

Shipley had a national offer list that also includes South Carolina, Stanford, Ohio State, …

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Clemson lands 5-star running back Shipley


Five-star running back Will Shipley (5-feet-11-inches, 198 pounds) of Matthews, N.C., announced a commitment to Clemson on Wednesday over Notre Dame.

Shipley had a national offer list that also includes South Carolina, Stanford, Ohio State, Florida, Georgia, Oregon, Penn State, Tennessee, Southern California and Wisconsin.

He is ranked as the No. 1 all-purpose back in the country and the No. 1 prospect in North Carolina.

Shipley will give Clemson a multi-talented weapon on offense. Last season, he rushed for 2,066 yards and 30 touchdowns, and he caught 34 passes for 582 yards and eight TDs.

Clemson was later than most of the others in offering Shipley and had already taken an RB commitment in Phil Mafah. However, Clemson RB coach and offensive coordinator Tony Elliott, who had Shipley in camp last summer, made it clear to Shipley that he was a priority and someone he and head coach Dabo Swinney wanted in the program. Shipley couldn't miss on the opportunity.

"National champions. Great atmosphere. Everything they do. The type of players they generate on and off the field," Shipley said. "It's an awesome place. It's got everything you can ask for. The people who make up Clemson and the culture, you don't get that anywhere else. It's almost impossible to say no to Dabo and Coach Elliott. They're great coaches and I have great relationships with them. I have no question in my mind that Clemson is the right spot for my family and me."

Shipley went to a pair of games at Clemson last season, Texas A&M and Wake Forest. He got a good look at how Elliott uses his guys, and he sees a good fit for him.

"I can see myself In that offense, being put all over the field and getting the ball many ways," Shipley said. "Coach Swinney told me that I was a great fit for the program. He said that I was a fit for the family atmosphere that they have."

Shipley is primarily compared to Carolina Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey, who has blossomed into one of the most versatile and exciting players in the National Football League. He plans to bring the same to the Clemson offense.

"Just versatility to make it a little harder on the defensive coordinators to be able to game plan," he said. "I'm not a one-dimensional back. I'm not just going to run the ball 20 times up the center's butt, I'm going to be able to be split out and get mismatches with linebackers and things like that."

Shipley is Clemson's 10th commitment for the 2021 recruiting class, and is the first 5-star rated prospect in the 247Sports Composite. The other nine are all 4-star prospects. He also gives Clemson three commitments ranked as the No. 1 player in the country at their respective position, joining tight end Jake Briningstool and inside linebacker Jeremiah Trotter.

Clemson won the recruiting battle for 4-star offensive tackle Walker Parks of Lexington, Ky., in the '20 class. He was the No. 2 prospect in Kentucky then. Now Clemson is going after his former teammate and close friend offensive guard Jager Burton (6-4, 271).

Burton is also a 4-star, but is ranked No. 1 in Kentucky for the '21 class. Having Parks on board will certainly help the efforts of Swinney and offensive line coach Robbie Caldwell in trying to pull in Burton as well.

"I would say the fact that Walker is going there helps," Burton said. "I talk to Walker about it a lot, and I also talk to Ryan Linthicum and Cade Denhoff ('21 commitments.) You are going to get to play for a national championship at Clemson.

Burton said he hears from Caldwell, and he's telling him not to rush and to wait for the coronavirus pandemic to pass so he can visit Clemson again and further develop the relationship.

Burton has named a top five of Clemson, Kentucky, Alabama, Ohio State and Oregon.

Clemson offered defensive end Dallas Turner (6-4, 235) of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., in the aftermath of losing the Korey Foreman commitment. Turner is rated a 4-star prospect and is a national recruit. Turner also holds offers from Alabama, Auburn, UF, UGA, Arkansas, Texas, Stanford, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Michigan, A&M, Ohio State, Mississippi, Penn State, Florida State, Miami and Louisiana State. He's not formulated a favorites list but when he gets around to a top 10 or so, Clemson will be there.

Clemson broke its recruiting protocol earlier last week with an offer to '23 cornerback Avieon Terrell (5-10, 165) of Atlanta. However, the parties know each other well, and that's why Swinney signed off on an offer to a freshman.

Terrell is the younger brother of former Clemson CB AJ Terrell, a first-round pick in last month's NFL draft. Avieon is following in his brother's footsteps as a high major recruit and is already compiling an impressive offer list.

Clemson joined USC, LSU, Louisville, UGA, Colorado, Miami, Arizona State, UF, Michigan State, Tennessee, Nebraska, UK and Georgia Tech as some of the schools on that list.

Five-star CB Jason Marshall of Miami has Clemson in his final three with Florida and Alabama. Marshall paid a visit to Clemson last summer and had planned to return this month before visits were stopped. He plans to take official visits to each of his finalists before a decision, which may not come until the December National Signing Day.


Four-star LB Trenilyas Tatum (6-2, 208) of Jonesboro, Ga., became the sixth commitment for USC's '21 USC class last week and the second LB. Tatum visited USC for a junior day in February, and from the start USC head coach Will Muschamp took a hands-on approach with his recruiting.

"Not many head coaches reached out like Coach Muschamp," Tatum said. "It's a school for defensive players. I know there are a lot of defensive players every year going to the draft, and I know Coach Muschamp will help make that happen for me.

"Coach Muschamp is a good coach. He actually communicates with the players. You know how head coaches (will) be all laid back and stuff; if he really wants you, he's going to go get you. He's very dedicated to his guys."

Tatum said Muschamp likes his versatility, and said he could play the Will or Mike linebacker. "Muschamp likes my athleticism. I can rush, I can cover. He said he says I fit the defense that he's running, and I trust him a lot," Tatum said. "And I got a better opportunity to play early. I see us winning. We're' going to be winning a lot when we get there. A championship. We're going big."

Some of his other offers were Arkansas, Louisville, Maryland, Oklahoma, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Michigan State and Minnesota.

Rock Hill High School TE Robbie Ouzts has trimmed his long offer list of over 25 schools to a top eight. Those are, in no order, USC, VT, Alabama, UNC, Duke, UGA, Auburn and Ole Miss. Some of those not making the cut were Tennessee, UK, Arkansas, West Virginia, North Carolina State, Louisville, Maryland, Pittsburgh, GT and Syracuse.

USC has long been a factor with Ouzts, identifying him early in the process as a major recruit.

"My latest with the Gamecocks is a weekly update usually with (assistant) Coach (Bobby) Bentley, and sometimes with Coach (Will) Muschamp or even (assistant) Coach (Joe) Cox," Ouzts said. "There's nothing really new they can update me on as of right now because we're all stuck at home, but they like to remind me I'm their No. 1 guy."

New USC OC Mike Bobo likes a powerful blocking back as part of his alignment. That's why he was happy to see his former fullback Adam Prentice at Colorado State come to USC as a graduate transfer. On Thursday, USC extended an offer to Jayden Tate (5-11, 247).

He is seen as someone who can play the same role as Prentice. Tate plays on the offensive and defensive lines for his high school, but from what he's learned from USC, it wants him as that bulldozer into the OL.

USC has a good opportunity for Tate, and his brother, 3-star DE Travali Price, which USC has also offered. However, USC will have to deal with some Atlantic Coast Conference competition.

LB Jabril McNeill (6-4 ,225) of Raleigh, N.C., is another top target for USC in North Carolina, and it has put itself in the thick of things with him. He has offers from NCSU, where his brother plays, Oklahoma, Arkansas, WF, East Carolina, Louisville, Michigan State, Missouri, Washington, Oregon and others.

From his other offers, McNeill said he also hears a lot from Oregon, NCSU, Washington, Oklahoma and WVU. He has not formulated a short list and is in no rush on a decision. As more options roll in though, it's apparent USC will be in the mix until a decision is made.

LB Jordan Poole (6-1, 205) of Oakboro, N.C., has set June 19, his father's birthday, for his commitment announcement. USC, which offered last June and is his lone Southeastern Conference offer at this point, is a major player.

Poole visited USC last season for the Vanderbilt game. He's also taken visits to VT, WF, NCSU, Louisville, Appalachian State, Duke and UVa. Those are all offers along with Charlotte, Old Dominion and Coastal Carolina. Along with USC, Poole said he's hearing a lot from NCSU, VT, ECU, App State and Louisville.

Gaffney High DT Tyrion Ingram-Dawkins named a top 13 and USC is on his list. The others are Oklahoma, Auburn, Michigan, PSU, FSU, NCSU, Tennessee, UGA, VT, Oregon, A&M and UNC. He has visited USC, Tennessee, VT and UGA.

Myrtle Beach High wide receiver JJ Jones named a top five of USC, UNC, UGA, Tennessee and Mississippi State.

In a bit of a surprise last week, 3-star RB Tiyon Evans of Hartsville, ranked as the No. 1 JC RB prospect in the nation heading into his second season at Hutchinson JC in Kansas, announced a commitment to Tennessee over USC.

Long thought by recruiting observers to be a lock for USC, Evans felt otherwise, and it really had nothing to do with Muschamp or the USC program.

"Me and my family did a lot of research and stuff," Evans said. "Honestly my mom always wanted me out of South Carolina. We've been through so much stuff in South Carolina. My mom been wanting me to leave, and I felt if there was a school other than South Carolina, it was Tennessee."

His offers also included Oklahoma State, Houston, Maryland, ECU, Western Kentucky and Central Florida.