Lightning in a Bottle: Will Shipley Ready to Contribute for Eagles

Eagles nick sirianni
Philadelphia Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni reacts to a fourth quarter touchdown pass from quarterback Jalen Hurts to tight end Dallas Goedert during the second half of an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Sunday, Dec. 31, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

The one highlight the Philadelphia Eagles chose to broadcast of Will Shipley after they drafted him showed him hurdling a defender on his way to the end zone. It’s those kinds of electrifying moves that the franchise is hoping to tap into in a suddenly revamped backfield.

Eagles draft Will Shipley

Shipley, a fourth-round pick (127th overall) out of Clemson, seemed like a surprise choice last week, especially with so many capable linebackers still on the board but there’s no denying his talent. Put on his game tape and throw some popcorn in the microwave. You won’t regret it.

The 5-foot-11, 206-pounder has good burst and supreme athleticism, including “ankle flexion to make bold cuts,” per NFL Media’s Lance Zierlein, with enough talent to potentially supplant Kenny Gainwell as RB2 one day. Maybe that is why starter Saquon Barkley wasted no time reaching out to the newest Eagles running back.

“I’m a huge Saquon fan. He actually reached out to me pretty quickly after I got drafted, just a couple minutes [after], so I’m so excited to share a backfield with all those guys,” Shipley told reporters. “I know I’m going to go in … I’m going to work my butt off and I’m going to do whatever the team needs me to do to be successful, whatever that takes is what I’m willing to do.”

Philadelphia Eagle’s Saquon Barkley talks to the media during a press conference after signing with the NFL football team, Thursday, March 14, 2024, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

No Surgery After Leg Injury: 110% Ready to Go

If there was one minor concern about Will Shipley, it had to do with his injury status. The standout running back hurt his left leg in Clemson’s Gator Bowl win over Kentucky. Luckily, there was no structural damage and the player has been fully cleared for football activities.

“I’m fully cleared, 110% percent, ready to go,” the rookie told reporters. “I feel great, healthier than ever, and just ready to get after it. It was a fibular dislocation in the [Gator] Bowl game, no structural damage, no surgery, just had a straight leg brace for a couple weeks then got right back after it.”

Shipley has been rehabbing hard in his hometown (Charlotte, North Carolina) after skipping the workout portion of the NFL Scouting Combine in March. He wowed scouts at his Pro Day on Clemson’s campus where he ran the 40-yard dash in a blazing 4.39 seconds while posting a 38.5-inch vertical jump and 10-foot, 2-inch broad jump. After, Shipley met with Eagles running backs coach Jemal Singleton for a private workout. Everyone walked away impressed.

“We were able to go over some of my film work and get to know each other a little better than the quick 15 minutes at the Combine,” Shipley said of the private workout. “I’m so blessed. I’m ready to get to work and could not be more proud to be a Philadelphia Eagle.”

Playing in Philadelphia should also keep his family roots grounded. You see, his older brother James is a star lacrosse player at the University of Pennsylvania. Will has been on campus many times to see James — a team captain and All-Ivy selection for the Quakers — tear it up.

“When the Eagles called, or when the call came through from Philadelphia, I could not have been more ecstatic,” Shipley said. “My older brother actually plays lacrosse at UPenn up in Philadelphia so I’m up there all the time and catching as many games of his as I can, and I’ve gained a love for the City of Philadelphia.”

State Track Champion, Electric Kick Returner: Shipley brings it all to the Eagles

Will Shipley’s athleticism is well-documented. Look no further than his time at Weddington High School in North Carolina where he played football and lacrosse, plus one year running track when he won the indoor state championship in the 55-meter dash.

ARLINGTON, TX – APRIL 26: The Philadelphia Eagles logo on the video board during the first round at the 2018 NFL Draft at AT&T Stadium on April 26, 2018 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington Texas. (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire)

Yes, he’s incredibly fast. And he showed off his lightning-quick wheels often at Clemson as a kick returner, something the Eagles might ask him to do after letting Boston Scott walk in free agency.

“If that’s what they want me to do, sure,” Shipley said of returning kicks in the NFL. “I am excited to go contend for a Super Bowl with one of the best cultures that I’ve seen in the NFL.”

AP Photo/Matt Slocum