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Clemson Football

Will Shipley on his intensity: 'I think it's the Holy Spirit shining through me'

August 6, 2023

The buzz on Clemson’s campus reached a crescendo as the Tigers took to the field for their first practice of the season under the scorching Southern sun. But it was the electrifying words of junior running back Will Shipley that truly set the stage for what promises to be an explosive season.

Shipley, hailing from Weddington, North Carolina, had an impressive campaign in 2022 with 1,182 yards and 15 touchdowns on the ground. Add in his 38 receptions for 242 yards, and Shipley emerged as a true force to be reckoned with-- but as Dabo Swinney always says, “The best is yet to come,” and with Garrett Riley at offensive coordinator, Shipley's statistics are expected to skyrocket.

Speaking with the media, Shipley highlighted the enthusiasm racing through Clemson’s camp. "I think the word is excited," he stated. "Everybody is excited. We’ve got the potential to be really great, and there is no doubt about that with all the weapons and pieces we have."

In an era where quarterbacks often take center stage, the star running back didn't hesitate to highlight the critical role of sophomore signal-caller Cade Klubnik. "I’ll start with No. 2 at quarterback," Shipley noted. "He leads the offense. He leads this team."

But Klubnik is far from the only weapon in Clemson's arsenal, and Shipley didn't mince words as he ran through the talent at Riley’s disposal.

"You talk about the weapons around him (Klubnik) and the five guys up front. Some young receivers have to step up, no doubt. You talk about me and No. 7 (Phil Mafah) in the backfield. I don’t think there is a better duo in the nation-- humbly. I see how hard we work every single day.”

The introduction of Riley’s scheme has brought a renewed sense of vigor to the Tigers' offense. "I would say that Coach Riley has done a great job just coming here and adding different components," Shipley noted. "He’s thrown things in there, and he just put the weapons in position to make plays."

“I think it's the Holy Spirit shining through me, which is why I have to learn how to redirect it sometimes to truly let the light shine."
- Will Shipley

Shipley couldn't contain his smile while recounting the first fall practice in Riley's air raid offense. 

"Today, we had a couple of big bangers on the defense, which always puts a smile on your face," he remarked. Shipley praised Riley's plan, saying, "I think he’s done a great job putting us in position to make plays. It’s one of the most fun days I’ve had being a Clemson Tiger. I think it’s going to be great.”

The intensity Shipley brings to the field is undeniable, an asset he attributes to a higher purpose. "I couldn't tell you," he admitted when questioned about his fiery personality. "It's like a different mode. I get so pumped up. I feel like that's what God put me on this earth to do, to play the game of football and maximize everybody's potential, including myself.” 

The Tigers' lead running back admitted that his enthusiasm can be taken the wrong way at times and he has to channel it in order to make a positive impact. 

“It's just a part of me that I've learned to love. It comes from a place of love and ferociousness,” Shipley stated. “I think it's the Holy Spirit shining through me, which is why I have to learn how to redirect it sometimes to truly let the light shine."

As the anticipation builds and the season opener inches closer, Tiger fans can rest assured that Shipley is ready to ignite the Clemson offense and set the field ablaze with his talent and infectious enthusiasm.

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Will Shipley on his intensity: 'I think it's the Holy Spirit shining through me'

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