It can be argued that Clemson's 2021 season can be summed up in two quick words. Missed opportunities.
Never was that more evident than in the Tigers 27-17 loss to Pitt when freshman running back Will Shipley dropped a perfectly thrown pass from quarterback D.J. UIagalelei that would have resulted in a long touchdown and put Clemson up by two scores in the first quarter.
Coming out of high school, Shipley was one of the highest-rated tunning backs in the country. One of the things he was known for was his hands and two days after the big drop it was obvious the freshman back was still dealing with the disappointment regarding his inability to make the play.
"It's, more like 99 out of 100," Shipley told the media on Monday when asked how often he makes that play. "Shoot man, I'm thinking about it right now. You know, my blood's boiling. Because I make plays like that, and to not make a play like that, and then in a big game against Pitt, I would do anything to get that play back."
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To Shipley, who missed the Tigers three previous games with a knee injury, the biggest thing was feeling like he let everyone around him down, including the fans, and the freshman said that is just a play that he has to make.
"It's very frustrating for me personally," Shipley said. "I feel like that I not only let myself down, let teammates down, coaches, the whole fan base. So I'm very frustrated with that play. I played it back in my mind, you know, 2000 times already."
"DJ throws the perfect ball and I just don't get around it. You know, just kind of running, body's a little bit out of control, and you're just not seeing the ball perfect. But, no excuses I got to bring that one in."
In five games this season, Shipley is second on the team with 266 rushing yards and sounding much more like an upperclassman than a true freshman, the running back said he is ready to flush the play, put it in the past and learn from the mistake.
"It's in the past, what am I gonna do? Learn from it," Shipley said. "What am I gonna do to improve, that's really the only question I can ask myself now. And, you know, if I get that opportunity again which I think I 100 percent will, I'm gonna make the play."
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