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Best Male Athlete: Will Shipley

Katie Bradham // Senior Photographer

Clemson running back Will Shipley (1) celebrates with fans during the Tigers’ game against Louisi-ana Tech in Memorial Stadium on Sept. 17, 2022.

If you watched any Clemson football games this past season, it was probably difficult to miss Will Shipley.

The junior running back has been a fan favorite ever since he arrived at Clemson in 2021 and has elevated his popularity even more this past season. Between jaw-dropping hurdles, game-changing broken tackles and diving scores, Shipley’s name is synonymous with what Clemson loves to promote: greatness.

Starting in all 14 games, the former five-star recruit finished 2022 with 1,182 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns on 210 attempts, adding another 242 yards as a receiver. 

Arguably his most highlight-worthy play came against Lousiville when he hurdled a defender and broke two tackles for an impressive 25-yard touchdown run, a scamper that sent the college football community into a frenzy.

Shipley’s standout campaign earned him first-team All-ACC honors at the running back, specialist and all-purpose positions. It was the first time an ACC player ever earned a first-team distinction at three different positions.

But perhaps what makes Shipley more popular than most is his off-the-field accomplishments as a student-athlete.

The Weddington, North Carolina, native, alongside K.J. Henry, helped establish the “1 CLEM5ON” endowment in November, which will provide resources to all Clemson student-athletes for years to come. 

“I’m just so pumped to have this platform and be able to give back to people that are the reason why I’m here today and give back to other students and student-athletes, including female athletes, to be able to support what they’re doing,” Shipley said of the endowment in a press release. “It is so important to me to make sure that everyone benefits, and to be able to do that and have that platform means a lot to me.”

Shipley also donated $10,000 of his NIL earnings to Levine Children’s Hospital last May and has continued to make similar impacts through TigerImpact and P.A.W. Journey.

Even when the chips haven’t fallen the way Shipley and the team want them to, the tailback’s demeanor hasn’t wavered.

“I wouldn’t want to play for any other university,” Shipley said after the Tigers’ Orange Bowl loss in December. “I love my brothers, and that’s truly who I do it for.”

Fans can catch Shipley and the Tigers back in action on April 15 when they play their annual spring game in Memorial Stadium.

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Justin Robertson
Justin Robertson, Associate Editor
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