The Hurry Up is your nightly dose of updates from the Ohio State football recruiting trail, keeping tabs on the latest from commits and targets from around the country.
All-around talent Shipley impressed by Ohio State
Ever since offering him in May, Ohio State had been looking to get Will Shipley on campus for a game atmosphere, and on Oct. 26 the Buckeyes succeeded.
They didn’t only succeed in getting the Weddington (N.C.) High School star running back – the nation’s No. 1-ranked all-purpose back in 2021 – into the Shoe. They also impressed Shipley and his father with the environment of the stadium, the engagement of the fans and the usage of J.K. Dobbins in the offense, notably in the passing game where Shipley’s elusive strengths shine.
The whole weekend experience was enough to get both Shipleys to relay that they needed to get Will’s mom back up to Columbus to see what it’s like.
“We told my mom it was definitely a place she needed to see,” Shipley told Eleven Warriors. “The atmosphere was tremendous, and I loved getting to meet new coaches and create better relationships with coaches I have already met.”
When that next visit comes, though, hasn’t yet been decided, and it won’t be for this weekend’s showdown against Penn State.
Including the Nittany Lions, Shipley has offers from several major Power 5 programs across the country. What began with the main in-state programs like North Carolina, Duke, NC State and Wake Forest recruiting him after his freshman season has turned into Ohio State, Alabama, Clemson, Notre Dame and Stanford.
At one time, there was a chance those programs could have recruited Shipley on defense if that’s where Shipley would have centered his focus.
Shipley came into Weddington unsure of where he would be positionally. After not starting the first three or four games as a freshman, he was thrown into the mix on defense for the Warriors by getting his first career varsity start at safety.
Shortly after that, he got snaps at running back and was soon after named the starter. From then on, as Shipley says, “the rest is kind of history.”
“I was kind of unsure what I was gonna be,” Shipley continued. “I’ve always played both (safety and running back). I would go to camps and play defensive back and at other camps playing running back. It just kind of looks like it’s working out for me to be a running back.”
Shipley has outstanding work ethic, so he probably could have been a Power 5 prospect at safety if he wanted to be. After all, he has experience defending one of the best high school players in America.
As a sophomore, he was tasked with defending the nation’s No. 3-ranked quarterback Sam Howell, now the true freshman starting quarterback at North Carolina.
“Oh my gosh, it was probably the toughest week of preparation and then on Friday, you’re like, ‘Wow, I honestly feel like that preparation did not help at all,’” Shipley said of having to compete against Howell. “It’s absolutely crazy what he could do between the lines, and tackling him in high school, his legs were like tree trunks. I know he doesn’t look that big in college football compared to everyone else, but he was pretty big in high school, and he could throw it 60 yards down the field at any time.”
Instead of having to slide back into zone coverage and run downhill to lay hits on quarterbacks at the college level, Shipley will have a career focused on trying to run through defensive backs and linebackers.
So far, he’s off to a great head start, using the past three years to turn himself into one of the nation’s best junior running backs – one who has risen with good friend Evan Pryor as the two top dogs in North Carolina at the position.
“We both wanted to be college football players, and we both wanted to make it happen so we ended up just always pushing each other and always making each other,” Shipley said. “We’ve grown up, and we’ve really done our thing. Credit to him. As he said, he’s pushed me as I hope I’ve pushed him to be the player I am today, and I think we’re gonna continue doing that for the rest of our careers.”
Todd Gurley, Bryce Love and Nyheim Hines are just a few of the stud running backs to come out of North Carolina in recent years. Shipley and Pryor are the latest highly ranked backs in the state who could make a name for themselves in college.
“Obviously there have been some great backs that have come out of here, and it’d be great to have two successful backs at the collegiate level – and maybe even further – in the same class,” Shipley said. “I think we definitely take pride in that, and I think we can definitely do it.”
Speaking of Shipley…
He has led Weddington to a No. 1 seed in the playoffs and into the second round of the postseason. He has scored an eye-popping 30 touchdowns this season and has 68 career touchdowns, which rank among the best in the Greater Charlotte area.
Additions to visit list for Penn State game
Latham is a top-80 national recruit and top-15 offensive tackle in the country in the 2021 class, and Burton is the No. 1-ranked junior in Kentucky and the nation’s No. 5-rated offensive guard.
Dingle is one of the top tight ends on the Buckeyes’ board, and Tshabola is a rising OL recruit who has potential to be a nationally ranked recruit.
Buckeyes make top 12 for N.C. athlete
Gabriel Stephens, a four-star junior ranked as the No. 17 athlete nationally and the No. 11-rated prospect in North Carolina, has Ohio State among his top 12 final schools.
Stephens is a 6-foot-3, 195-pounder with North Carolina, Florida and Penn State among his finalists.
Kiner setting records
Corey Kiner is a candidate to be one of two running backs the Buckeyes take in the 2021 class. At Roger Bacon Academy – which lost 28-27 in a controversial playoff game Saturday – he has continued to light the state record books ablaze with his play.
The most impressive stat of them all is that Corey has missed a combined 21 quarters of play in his high school career due to injury/weather/blowout/cancellations #HailSpartans https://t.co/X2IkEsbCbJ— Brandon Spaeth, CAA (@bspaeth7) November 17, 2019
As the Spartans’ assistant athletic director notes, it’s more impressive considering the shortened time span in which Kiner has accomplished these feats.
McCord earns major award
Kyle McCord has the makings of being an elite pocket passer in college, and he has a while before he'll get to make any impact on Ohio State.
Over the weekend, the Buckeyes' 2021 quarterback commit made Philadelphia history by earning MVP honors in the Philadelphia Catholic League for the second consecutive year.
The Fresh Prince of St. Joes.— All-American Bowl (@AABonNBC) November 17, 2019
2021 #AllAmericanBowl QB Kyle McCord (@kylemccord16) was named the Philadelphia Catholic League Red Division MVP for the 2nd straight year.
McCord is the first player in PCL history to win back-to-back MVP awards prior to his senior season. pic.twitter.com/GS3PVIsUOV
Smith-Njigba, good at football
Had to get my daily 2020 receiver class update in here somehow, right? Well, here’s a Jaxon Smith-Njigba highlight:
A few weeks ago my guy @jaxon_smith1 made #2 play on @sportscenter Top 10!! They shoulda ran it back and put my guy right back on there with this catch!! #TRPTLegend #BestInTexas pic.twitter.com/CDFBSF13IF— Daymond Patterson II (@DP2Nice) November 18, 2019