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2024 Rookie Profile: Will Shipley – Running Back

Will Shipley have a solid career at Clemson, but can his skills translate to the NFL season?

Profile Overview

  • College: Clemson
  • Height: 5’11″
  • Weight: 206 lbs
  • Age: 22
  • Year: Junior
  • 40-Yard Dash: 4.39 (Pro-Day)
  • Vert: 38.5″ (Pro-day)
  • Broad: 10’2″ (Pro-day)
  • Draft Projection: 4th/5th Round

College Career


Will Shipley played his high school ball at Weddington High School in North Carolina. He was a four-star recruit and a two-sport athlete in football and track, going to Clemson in 2021. Will Shipley came in as a freshman and started immediately for Clemson’s backfield while splitting time with Kobe Pace. He did well to help the Tigers finish 10-3 during the 2021 season.

In 2022, Shipley took hold of the backfield, finishing with 210 attempts. The next closest running back finished with only 98 carries. As a sophomore, Shipley would average 5.6 YPC and have over 1400 all-purpose yards. He would finish first-team All-SEC honors during this season.

In Shipley’s junior season, he could not live up to his 2022 season. He would miss a game and a half due to a concussion, which would lose him playing time the rest of the year.

Phil Mafah8734396615744.90
Will Shipley81125154.632012062
Phi Mafah4703404.956345.70
Will Shipley4553125.721112411.30
Before and After Concussion for Shipley

We saw Shipley not have the same success early in the 2023 season, with a 4.6 YPC. Phil Mafah showed improvement, allowing him to be more involved as the bigger back between the two. Mafah showed something that Shipley had never demonstrated: that he could handle a big workload. Once Shipley returned from injury, he did not lead this backfield, as it was even more of a split that favored Mafah the rest of the year. Shipley was named team captain in 2023 and showed off his leadership to the team.


Shipley has a lot of talent at the running back position, especially with his overall speed. He was able to help his stock during this pro day. His 40 time of 4.34 was the third-best among running backs based on the NFL Combine numbers. He showed off his explosiveness and agility during running back drills. Shipley is the type of running back that can thrive in open space, and he shows off his speed for an NFL team in a big way. He has three great skill sets that make him an interesting candidate for the running back position.

Receiving Skill Set

Shipley’s most interesting strength is his role in the receiving game. Shipley has had over 30 receptions in each of the last two seasons. He has the talent to run an effective route tree as a running back. On film, he has done swing routes all the way to wheel routes to get vertical up the field. He has the talent to be a mismatch over linebackers and use his speed to beat them down the field. He even has lined up in the slot at times, which a team sees him as a versatile player at the NFL level. He has natural hands as a pass catcher and will do wonders as a receiver out of the backfield in open space.


Another trait that stands out for Shipley is his vision. He has very good vision for a running back. Whether or not he does it, he can identify holes in the defense and accel through the hole for yards. He knows how to attack the second level and see the soft spot to gain those extra yards. Shipley’s vision helps him anticipate his blocks to produce on the ground. If a running back has good vision, it can give them major opportunities to produce in the NFL. Shipley should be able to make a roster and be involved strictly based on his vision alone.

Lateral Burst

For Shipley’s last highlighted strength, it has to be his lateral burst. Shipley’s ability to move laterally makes him an excellent prospect for this NFL draft. You can see while watching the film that he can shoot off laterally in a fast, quick motion. Shipley made big plays while staring down at a defender coming at him. You see his instincts kick in and make that lateral move into open space. This will help Shipley gain those big plays at the NFL level. It almost looks effortless with his hip flexibility to move laterally like that.

Areas of Concern

Shipley has some struggles that could prevent him from being a three-down player in the NFL. First, he lacks power with his runs. Shipley may have issues being effective in short-yardage situations and, more often than not, in between the tackles. That brings me up to his contact balance; he prefers to go outside more and make defenders miss rather than break off a tackle. You see on film that Shipley gets knocked off his run, doesn’t rebound well, and misses out on big plays. Due to his size, Shipley has some durability issues, only 5’11” and 206 pounds. He suffered a nonsurgical knee injury that he sustained during the bowl game. Shipley must also work on his pass protection to stand up to NFL pass rushers. His patience could be better in the backfield as he looks to make moves too quickly at times rather than let plays develop.

Dynasty Value/Landing Spot/Rookie Pick Value

For Will Shipley, I believe team evaluation will dictate his landing spot in the NFL. He has been projected in that fifth to sixth-round range due to the strengths he offers. I look at teams with more of an outside zone scheme to fit Shipley’s running style. The 49ers would fit perfectly for Shipley’s overall value and what he offers an offense. I wouldn’t count out teams like the Cardinals, Rams, or Raiders. Capital will dictate where he goes in rookie drafts. He can land a day-two pick, and then he’ll likely be a second-round pick in rookie drafts. He would likely be a third or fourth-round pick if he goes in his projected range during the NFL draft. He’ll need less competition to produce in year one. He has the potential, but he is better as a year two breakout type of player than a year one guy.

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