CLEMSON FOOTBALL

'Crazy Eyes' Shipley is also an animal, who asks for his O-line to act like lawn mowers

'Crazy Eyes' Shipley is also an animal, who asks for his O-line to act like lawn mowers


by - Senior Writer -

CLEMSON – Crazy eyes. An animal. A sparkplug. Running back Will Shipley’s teammates can find a lot of ways to describe the way he plays, but he’s making plenty of statements on his own.

Shipley rushed 12 times for a career-high 139 yards with two touchdowns in Clemson’s 48-20 victory over Louisiana Tech Saturday night. His previous career high was 128 rushing yards, set against both Florida State and South Carolina in 2021. Shipley (11.6-yard average) became the first Clemson player to average 10 yards per carry on at least 10 attempts since Travis Etienne in the 2020 ACC Championship Game against Notre Dame.

Shipley, who had two touchdowns against both Georgia Tech and Furman, became the first Clemson player to rush for multiple touchdowns in three straight games since Travis Etienne later in the 2019 season (vs. Boston College, Wofford and NC State). Shipley became the first Clemson player in records back to 1950 to open a season with multiple rushing touchdowns in each of the first three games of a season.

There have been several photos of Shipley posted online that show the crazy expressions he makes throughout the game. There are weird expressions, and then there are the crazy eyes. Quarterback DJ Uiagalelei is a fan of the crazy eyes.

“Shipley ran the ball how Shipley runs the rock. Shipley is a dog. I'm back there watching and I feel like every time he touches the ball, it's either going to the house or it's a big play,” Uiagalelei said. “He had like 130 on 12 carries and two touchdowns. He's had two touchdowns (each of) these first three games. It's exciting to see. He puts in a lot of work. For me, it's not surprising to see the success he's having. He put in a lot of work this off-season like he does each and every week.

“He's a spark. He brings that juice each and every day. I think they showed a video of him after his touchdown last week with his crazy eyes. That's how it feels every time he's in the backfield. He just brings a spark and a juice each and every game. The way he prepares and goes about his business, he's a grown man. He handles his business and he does a really good job.”

Shipley said his crazy expressions come from a loving place – he loves to get into the endzone.

“I love being in open space. I remember telling my mom during Pop Warner days that my favorite thing in the world is just you and the endzone,” Shipley said. “Anytime that gets to happen, I have a huge smile on my face running in there. I'm sure you guys have seen some of the pictures. I just love getting in the endzone. It's one of my favorite things to do and whenever I can break a long one and feel fast and get out, it makes me even happier.”

Shipley added a 32-yard touchdown run in the third quarter, the longest scoring run of his career.

Shipley has rushed for a touchdown in six consecutive games, dating to last season, Clemson’s longest streak since Travis Etienne rushed for a touchdown in seven straight games in 2020.

“He is an animal, man. He gives 110-percent every single time he is out there,” offensive coordinator Brandon Streeter said. “He is such a tough, hard-nosed guy. He has shown, through his experience and maturity, how he can make all the different types of runs, whether it's zone or counter. We are trying a bunch of different ways to get the ball to him, whether it's a screen or a quick bubble pass. He is just a guy that can you depend on. It's fun to be around him.”

Shipley said all he asks from his offensive line is for them to act like lawn mowers and mow defenders down so he can get in open space.

“I think running the football really, really worked. That o-line up front, they were doing their job. They were very visible from my eyes,” Shipley said. “All I can ask for is a lawn mower. If they can do that, then they've done their job and I've got to do mine now. I think running the football worked really well tonight. DJ was slinging that thing and they started trying to stop the run. Wide receivers were making catches. We were playing all together which was really good.”

As for his records, Shipley gave all the credit to his teammates.

“They mentioned it, but all the glory goes to God,” he said. “All the glory goes to the guys around me. It wouldn't be possible without the guys up front, Phil (Mafah) and Kobe (Pace) pushing me every single day, Coach Spiller getting the most out of me. All props to those guys.”

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