Weddington 2021 RB Will Shipley — The shifty tailback, who models his game after Christian McCaffrey, said Tennessee is recruiting him pretty hard early in his recruitment. Shipley, who holds offers Stanford, Oregon, South Carolina, UNC and UT, among others, plans on visiting Tennessee this summer, likely in May.
Just spoke with Shipley. He plans to visit Tennessee over Spring Break now. Which will around the 23rd of April. Tells me that Tennessee is active with him and Weinke is the primary person that he communicates with.
Will Shipley has a comparison in mind. Or, at least, the 2021 running back knows the comp he wants other people to make. Christian McCaffrey. “Since he was at Stanford,” Shipley told GoVols247 on Sunday, “I’ve always absolutely loved his game. How humble he is. That’s kind of how I model myself.” The numbers are already there. At the NFL Combine leading up to the 2017 NFL Draft, McCaffrey ran a 4.48-second 40. He had a 37.5-inch vertical and a 4.22-second time in the 20-yard shuttle.
At The Opening regional Sunday in Charlotte, Shipley was clocked at 4.46 seconds in the 40, recorded a 36.3-inch vertical and had a time of 4.21 seconds in the agility drill. McCaffrey measured at the combine at 5-foot-11, 202 pounds. Shipley is 5-11, too, and only four pounds lighter. McCaffrey was the No. 8 overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft by the Carolina Panthers. Shipley lives just down the road, attending Weddington High School in Matthew, N.C. And yes, Tennessee knows all about him.
“During the last open period, Coach (Chris) Weinke came in about three or four times,” Shipley said. “I got to talk to him a lot. I was supposed to go over there during spring break but the times just didn’t match up. “This review period just started,” Shipley added, “and I know coaches weren’t really in town. So I didn’t get a chance to make it up there, but I’m definitely going to get up there soon.”
Shipley is the No. 44 overall player in the 2021 class according to the 247Sports ratings. He’s ranked No. 4 among all-purpose backs and is the No. 2 overall prospect out of North Carolina. On Sunday he took home MVP honors among the running backs at The Opening regional. He has 17 known offers, including the likes of Arkansas, Georgia, Notre Dame, Oregon, South Carolina, Stanford, West Virginia and Wisconsin. All the local schools are there, too, with North Carolina, North Carolina State and Duke all after him.
While his stock continues to climb, Shipley knows what the Vols are selling. “They’re turning around the program,” Shipley said. “They’ve gotten some of the best recruits in the 2019 class. They’re going to have a good 2020 class. “They just want to keep adding to that. And it can be something special.” Shipley has recently visited Northwestern, Duke, North Carolina State and South Carolina. Next on his list: A June 7 trip to Stanford. “Take a little break after that,” Shipley said, “and look into any other schools that pop up during the review period.” And keep modeling his game after McCaffrey. “I guess I just kind of always ran faster than most,” Shipley said. “But I’ve always got in the back of my mind that I want to be the fastest kid. That’s just how I am. I want to be the best at everything I do.”
Matthews, North Carolina running back Will Shipley is one of the more intriguing prospects in the 2021 class. The dynamic athlete plays all over the field on Friday nights and has seen plenty interest early in his recruiting process. "It's been awesome," Shipley said. "I started getting offers during my freshman year. It started to stack up during my sophomore year and I've just been really blessed to have a head coach that gets my name out and gets me exposure. Schools have liked what they see."
One of the schools to offer Shipley early on was Tennessee. His interest level in Rocky Top has grown considerably in recent months, with Tennessee working to get him on campus this summer. "I know Tennessee is on the come up," Shipley said. "I know they have struggled the last couple of years, but with a new head coach that is changing. I talk to coach Weinke a lot, and he has put the vision in my mind so I'm looking forward to watching them this fall."
And it's been Weinke who has thrived since moving recruiting territories into the Charlotte area where he played in the NFL. His conversations with Shipley have put Tennessee in the mix. "He's been awesome," Shipley said. "Being able to talk to a Heisman winner is really cool. He sees the vision of what I can do at Tennessee. He lets me know all that I could contribute to the team and what the environment is like."
Shipley is 5-foot-11 and 185 pounds. He's quick and plenty explosive. If you ask him what he is, he is quick to point out that he's just a football player. "I feel like I can do anything on the field," Shipley said. "I can play running back or you can put me at slot. You can put me on the defensive side of the ball and I'm not going to complain. I feel like you put me on special teams or anywhere on the field and I can help contribute and make an impact."
Most like him on the offensive side of the ball with his ability to play running back or slot receiver. Catching the ball is something that he feels like separates him from others players of his skill-set. "I usually go with our quarterback three or four times a week during the off-season," Shipley said. "We go before or after school to keep my hands fresh and his arm fresh. I think that's what sets me apart is being able to split out and catch the ball out of the backfield."