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C.J. Spiller Blown Away by Mindset of Freshman Clemson RB Will Shipley

First-year running back's coach C.J. Spiller has been overly impressed by the way freshman Will Shipley carries himself on and off the field.

Running back Will Shipley was one of the crown jewels of the 2021 Clemson recruiting class.

A member of the inaugural SI99 and the nation's third-best running back prospect last year, Shipley's arrival on campus was surrounded by a lot of hype. 

With Travis Etienne now in the NFL, Shipley is entering the program just as the Tigers will be looking to replace the production of the ACC's all-time leading rusher and first-year running back's coach C.J. Spiller loves the skill set the dynamic back brings to the team.

"Very unique," Spiller said at Clemson Media Day "Obviously can catch the ball well out of the backfield, run between the tackles, can run on the edge, great return skills."

While his skills on the field are undeniable, it's the way Shipley carries himself off of the field that has really impressed his new position coach. The more Spiller gets to know the freshman running back, the more highly he thinks of him.

"He has goals that he wants to hit why he is here at Clemson," Spiller said. "My job here is to try to help them achieve those goals. Just been very blown away by how well mannered he is. He is well advanced for his age, he has a game plan for his life."


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"Obviously, I wasn't involved with the recruitment of Will so, you know, being able to just get to know him as a person, he's very smart. He's about his business. Hopefully, he won't be a guy I have to worry about at night because I know he's gonna do things the right way."

Spiller intimated that Shipley has been very eager to learn and doesn't fit the mold that one might see with many high-profile recruits entering their first year in a college football program.

"There's no ego with Will," Spiller said. "He's asking questions. He's trying to learn from the upper guys like Lyn-J (Dixon) and Darien (Rencher) and they doing a great job of helping him along the way."

"A five-star, sometimes it's hard to manage those guys because they come in with these high expectations or something must be given to them because of that. But that's the opposite of Will Shipley. He wants to earn everything that he gets and as a young coach, getting to watch that, that's been a beauty to see."

Spiller was a very high-profile recruit himself and sees a lot of similarities between himself and the freshman Shipley, who was North Carolina's 2020 Gatorade High School Player of the Year.

"Very similar to how I was thinking when I came to Clemson in what I wanted to do what I wanted to achieve," Spiller said. "And I went about my business in doing it and so he kind of reminded me in that regard, that he's well mannered and he has the right mindset to be a great college football player and a great student."

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