Last year the college football world was impressed by freshman running backs TreVeyon Henderson and Braelon Allen. They both rushed for over 1,200 yards in their first season. Will Shipley is another RB from the 2024 class that had an excellent freshman year that you should not forget about. Let’s take a closer look at the talented Clemson back.
Freshman Year at Clemson
Will Shipley was a 5-star top 50 prospect in 2021 and chose Clemson over Alabama and Georgia. With Travis Etienne leaving Clemson for the NFL Draft, the hope was Shipley could take over as the next star RB. Early on, the results were not overly promising, with only one of four games over 11 carries. After an injury kept Shipley out for a month, he returned and ended the season strong. Three out of his last six games, he had over 100 yards rushing and finished the season with over 1,000 total yards from scrimmage.
Shipley will look to build off of his impressive freshman season in 2022. Let’s look at the scouting report for him based on his freshman tape.
- Receiving – Shipley was ranked as the #1 all-purpose back, and in his freshman season, you could see his ability as a receiver. He did not just catch dump-off passes and could be lined up outside or in the slot. He had a good route running out of the backfield and showed great instincts and hands even on off-target passes.
- Burst/Acceleration- Once he gets through the hole, you can see the quick acceleration, and in the open field, few defenders caught him in his freshman season. He is a true home run hitter at the RB position.
- Elusiveness – Shipley has outstanding lateral quickness and in eluding tacklers in the hole or in open space. On the below run against Florida State, you can see the tight moves in the hole that allow him to escape for a touchdown.
- Patience – I felt Shipley’s speed and bust caused him just to run straight ahead and not allow blocks to develop.
- Vision – This kind of goes along with his patience. With more patience, more blocks will be set up, and can use vision to pick the correct hole. He did show good vision at times, especially for a freshman. But I think improvement will make his potential only get higher.
- Pass Pro – Like many young RBs, pass protection always needs improvement. Shipley does not shy away from contact but sometimes can miss blocks. This is likely a technique and practice issue that can be improved going into his second season.
2022 and Devy Outlook
With last season’s passing struggles, I think Clemson will rely heavily on the running game and their stout defense. More impressive was Shipley’s stats last year with only playing ten games and not claiming the lead-back role until Week 3. While he will split carries with Kobe Pace and Phil Mafah, Shipley should significantly increase his 165 touches from a year ago. He only had 16 receptions last season, and look for that number to at the very least double.
In the Dynasty Nerds Devy Rankings, Shipley is the eighth-ranked RB and the third-ranked RB of the 2024 class. I currently have him as the second RB in the 2024 class ahead of Braelon Allen. Shipley has more burst and versatility in his career compared to Allen. I don’t think he will ever catch TreVeyon Henderson at number one. But he has a great skill set that should translate well in the NFL.
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