Will Shipley: Weddington’s Backfield Phenom

Will Shipley avoids a tackle (Photo by: D. M. Wallace)

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Will Shipley, Weddington’s premier backfield star, is widely regarded as the nation’s top all-purpose back in the class of 2021. His 2066-yard junior season has caught the attention of coaches nationwide, who continue to recruit the 5-foot-11, 200-pound junior without pause. Reports from college towns across the country continue to pour in, detailing the journeys of coaches and staff, to North Carolina, in pursuit of the 5-star back.

Shipley gives one of many interviews after a win (Photo by: D. M. Wallace)

Just this week, publications in Georgia and Indiana have reported on the influence that their coaches hope to have had on Shipley. Georgia Bulldogs running back coach Dell McGee was lauded by DawgNation, a publication that focuses on UGA athletics, for arriving earliest, out of eight coaches on a single day, in an attempt to recruit Shipley. Shipley has been hailed as the top priority for the University of Notre Dame by Irish Illustrated, a publication that focuses on Fighting Irish athletics. This could be confirmed by the presence of Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly, and running back coach Lance Taylor, at Weddington last week. According to Irish Nation, coach Taylor has made weekly trips to North Carolina to visit Shipley.

Shipley hurdles the defense in his typical fashion (Photo by: D. M. Wallace)

Notre Dame and Georgia were hardly the only high profile schools with a presence at Shipley’s school last week. On the day of Kelly and Taylor’s visit, Alabama head coach Nick Saban, and Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney, were reported to have arrived at Weddington in attempts to appeal to the junior recruit. The following day, Virginia Tech head coach Justin Fuente made his way to Weddington, along with several other programs, vying for Shipley’s attention.

Shipley caught more than 30 passes during his junior season (Photo by: D. M. Wallace)

These programs, and many others, have their intentions set on Shipley for good reason. Shipley helped to top off Weddington’s first-ever undefeated season this year, with a 34-14 state championship victory. The entire state championship game was dominated by Shipley, who earned 256 of the team’s 309 total yards. This year alone, he ran for over 2000 yards, with 30 rushing touchdowns. He added another eight touchdowns through the air, earning 582 yards on 34 receptions. Shipley broke the Union County record this year for touchdowns in a season. The record had been in place since Forest Hills running back Juanne Blount ran for 36 in 2008. Shipley added two further touchdowns on defense, setting the Union County record at 40. With another high school season left to play, Shipley is set to bring another record-breaking season to the Warriors next year.

Shipley beats two defenders for a touchdown (Photo by: D. M. Wallace)
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