Jaxon Shipley follows in his brother Jordan's footsteps to Texas
Committing to tradition-rich Texas as one of the nation's premier recruits comes with an expectation of future greatness. Expectations are even loftier for a wideout with the last name Shipley.
The stage is set for Jaxon Shipley, the younger brother of former consensus All-America and current Cincinnati Bengal Jordan, to flourish in his arrival to Austin. He's his brother's spitting image, from his 6-foot, 170-pound frame to his messy mop of brown hair. He possesses the same blend of speed, football-savvy and spectacular hands that allowed Jordan to thrive. When he dons a burnt orange Texas uniform, he'll appear to be his brother's incarnation.
"Jordan tells me never to think that I have to live up to anything that he's done," said Jaxon. "Because if you put that pressure on yourself I think you won't play as good."
Despite his wishes, comparisons between the two are inevitable, and Jordan left quite a legacy to live up to. He graduated with 3,191 receiving yards and 33 touchdowns, both second all-time in the Longhorns' receiving ranks. His outstanding play propelled Texas to a 13-1 mark and BCS title berth in 2009.
Jaxon has the potential to be even better. Scouts say he's more polished at a younger age, and his high school tenure was simply dominant. He hauled in 86 passes for 1,656 yards and 27 touchdowns his senior year, leading the Lions to a 14-1 record and the Texas 3A Division II semifinals. He also showcased his immense talent in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, bolting through the secondary to corral a 35-yard touchdown strike midway through the third quarter.
"It seems like no matter where they throw the ball he comes down with it," Jordan marveled. "He's unbelievable."
Texas is counting on him to continue his success. The Longhorns averaged an underwhelming 232 passing yards per game last season, 50th in the nation. With questions circulating about quarterback Garrett Gilbert's interception-prone performance (backup Case McCoy, Colt's younger brother, could receive starting consideration), Shipley could play a vital role in the team's attempts to avoid consecutive losing seasons for the first time since 1988-1989. Texas will also feature a new offensive coordinator, as 13-year veteran Greg Davis retired in December.
Amid the chaos, Jaxon remains calm. He's diligently training for spring practice and talking to Jordan about life both on the field and in the classroom.
"The best advice that Jordan has given me doesn't really as much have to do with football," said Jaxon. "It's life stuff -- stuff I need to know as far as college goes."
Yet, while Jaxon continues to downplay his skill set, Jordan is saying what every Longhorn fan wants to hear.
"[Jaxon's] definitely got all the tools to be able to be successful," he said.