Weddington High football: chasing a repeat state title
Clemson has a pair of offers out to running backs in the 2021 class at this point, and one of those, Phil Mafah of Loganville, Georgia, already has committed. The other with an offer, Will Shipley of Matthews, North Carolina, took in his first game at Death Valley last weekend when the Tigers defeated Texas A&M. Not only did Shipley get a better look at the program, he got a clearer understanding of where things stand between him and running backs coach Tony Elliott.
“I got there a little bit early on the first bus over to the complex and I got to sit down and eat lunch with coach (Dan) Pearman,” Shipley said. “I was on the first bus over to the stadium and I sat down and had a couple of minutes with coach Elliott, which was really, really cool, just trying to hash it out with him before the game to see what he was thinking. I got to see them run down the hill, hear Dabo’s (Swinney) pre-game speech and post-game speech. It was an incredible experience.”
One of the concerns for Shipley going into the visit was where he stood in the recruiting pecking order since Elliott already has the one running back commitment. What he needed to know with certainty was Elliott’s plan about taking a second back in the ’21 class, or if he likes him enough for another position, such as slot receiver.
“He told me they are going to recruit me,” Shipley said. “He had planned to take one running back in the ’21 class but coach Swinney gave him the go ahead to go ahead and recruit me. I didn’t ask him too much into detail because we got into some stuff about the game. I just know they are going to continue to recruit me.”
And that was good news for Shipley as everything else on the visit added up to Clemson having a spot among his favorites he will announce after his season.
“It’s an awesome place, it’s got everything you can ask for,” Shipley said. “At this point, you really can’t make a bad decision. It’s definitely up there on my list. I have a group of six or seven schools and I think going there Saturday and just being in the atmosphere it definitely moved it up the list with me.”
Shipley said he had looked at going to USC this weekend for the Alabama game but couldn’t get that worked out, so he may end up at the Florida State-Virginia game. He said he will get to South Carolina for a game this season. He will visit Notre Dame in October for the Southern Cal game.
Some of his other offers are NC State, Stanford, Duke, Wake Forest, West Virginia, Virginia, Florida, Georgia, Southern Cal, Arkansas, Vanderbilt, Notre Dame, Oregon, Tennessee, and Ohio State.
Last season Shipley accounted for 2,000 yards of offense rushing and receiving along with 26 touchdowns.
Tall tight end liking the Tigers
Brentwood, Tennessee tight end Jake Briningstool (6-foot-6, 210 pounds) had seen Clemson before as a camper back in June. Last Saturday was his first time inside Death Valley for a game. He picked a good one as the Tigers rolled over Texas A&M before a packed house of enthusiastic fans. Clemson was already in a good place with Briningstool prior to this visit and the Tigers further enhanced their chances with him due to his experience.
“I had heard all about it (Clemson’s tradition of running down the hill) and how cool it is but to actually see it live was pretty special,” Briningstool said. “We ate and hung out with some of the other recruits. We talked to the coaches a little bit as they were coming through and then we went over and watch Tiger Walk. That was pretty cool to see. After Tiger Walk, my family and I went into Coach Swinney’s office for probably 10 minutes. We just talked and he was telling me how much of a priority I am to the class and how I’m the only tight end they’ve offered so far and I’m the one they wanted. That was a good conversation. Then, we hung out in the recruiting room for a little bit and we watch the warm-ups. After warmups, they took a couple of us over to the rock and we actually got to watch the team run in from the hill, so that was pretty cool.”
Briningstool is one of the nation’s top recruits in his class at tight end with offers from most Power Five programs. After this visit, he can see things coming into focus, in particular with four programs.
“Clemson is definitely at the top of my list right now. I would say Clemson, Alabama, Georgia and Ohio State,” he said. “Those are probably some of my top schools, but Clemson is definitely near the top. We have a good relationship with most of the coaches over there. I like it a lot. Me and Coach Pearman, since September 1st rolled around, he’s been sending me graphics. We have a pretty strong relationship. I like Coach Pearman a lot. He’s a real family guy and I really like that about him. He’s more of a father figure to the tight ends who are there now and I really, really like that about him.”
Last season Briningstool had 25 catches for 325 yards and a touchdown.