The offseason recruiting cycle continues to churn out major news, this time with Clemson making the splash. The Tigers landed a massive verbal commitment on Tuesday with five-star running back Will Shipley pledging to Dabo Swinney's program in the 2021 class. Shipley, from Weddington High School in Matthews, North Carolina, is the No. 1 player in the state, the top all-purpose prospect and the No. 24 overall recruit for the next recruiting cycle, per 247Sports Composite rankings.
Though Shipley had the bevy of offers one would expect for a coveted five-star athlete, including Alabama and Ohio State, 247Sports notes that NC State and Notre Dame were the primary challengers for Shipley. Clemson, however, had a leg up as a program that had been recruiting Shipley as a primary target dating back to the Dabo Swinney Camp last June.
At 5-foot-11 and 198 pounds, Shipley already has the frame physically to be an instant-impact player out of the backfield. Running a sub-4.5, he has the speed programs covet as well. He can also catch passes out of the backfield to round out his skill set. His scouting report, per 247Sports, is as follows:
Owns a sturdy, filled out frame. Could add some more weight within his upper body at the next level, but likely isn't too far from his ideal size. Tests as a top athlete at running back, consistently running sub 4.5 seconds in the 40-yard dash in addition to strong track times. One of the most productive running backs in the 2021 cycle, leading his team to an undefeated season and state title as a junior. Breaks off long runs at a high rate, using his speed to get to the edge and pull away from defenses. Has good vision and effectively reads his blocks and finds daylight. Runs with physicality and shows the ability to break arm tackles at the second level. Embraces all aspects of the position and is a complete back. One of the more skilled pass catchers among backs in the 2021 cycle and is a threat as a receiver out of the backfield. Can continue to improve his body lean, lateral agility and wiggle as a runner. Projects as a multi-year starter at the Power Five level with the upside of developing into an early round NFL Draft pick.
With Shipley's verbal, Clemson has the No. 4 class in the country for 2021. Shipley is the highest-rated commit for the 10-member class.