At the tender age of 19, Will Shipley is already a living legend in Union County, and he’s now in the midst of making his mark on the national stage.

As a junior at Weddington High in 2019, he led the team to its second consecutive state championship with a perfect record (16-0), scoring 42 touchdowns and rushing for 2,066 yards with an average of 11 yards per carry.

He was a state champion in three sports at Weddington: football, lacrosse and indoor track, where his 6.36-second time in the 55-meter dash was the best in N.C.

Gatorade named Shipley state player of the year in 2019 and ESPN ranked him as the No. 21 player in the nation among his recruiting class, regardless of position.

There isn’t a college team in the country that wouldn’t like to have Shipley playing for them on scholarship.

A 5-foot-11, 205-pound tailback with elite speed, Shipley is Clemson’s leading rusher in 2021 — even though he’s missed three games with a leg injury. He averages a shade under 5 yards per carry and has amassed 550 yards with a team-high nine touchdowns on 112 carries.

In last Saturday’s 48-27 win over Wake Forest, Shipley led the way for Clemson, rushing 19 times for 112 yards and two touchdowns while also throwing a 2-yard touchdown jump pass on a trick play.

Shipley’s also a weapon for Clemson in the return game, ranking 13th in the nation in kickoff returns at 27.2 yards per attempt (13 for 354).

If Shipley continues to improve — and the odds are in his favor considering his OCD-level work habits — he will be a high draft pick in the NFL one day. According to, Shipley projects as a late first-round pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.

Clemson (8-3 record) plays its final game of the regular season at rival South Carolina (6-5) on Saturday, Nov. 27, starting at 7:30 p.m.; it will be televised on the SEC Network.