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Notre Dame Football Recruiting

Top 2021 RB Will Shipley Will Wait Out Dead Period For Notre Dame

April 1, 2020

2021 Weddington (N.C.) running back Will Shipley‍ was supposed to get back to Notre Dame at the end of March. It was a trip he was looking forward to as it was another chance to spend time around Notre Dame's 2021 commits, but the Covid-19 pandemic happened. 

Recruiting visits might be on hold, but that doesn't mean the Irish commits have stopped trying to recruit one of the nation's most explosive running backs. 

"I've said it from the beginning that it's going to give Notre Dame a step forward in the recruiting process," Shipley said of Notre Dame's commits. "Those commits are going to be my friends for the next 40 years of my life or until I pass away. 

"It really does play a big role knowing all the guys so well. I've played lacrosse against Tyler (Buchner) and we've created a great relationship. I've developed relationships with all the other guys and it's very important." 

It's not just Shipley saying nice things about his fellow recruits as he took matters into his own hands last week by sending Blake Fisher a birthday card

The relationships with his peers are important, but there is another relationship that's been well-documented over the last year. 

Notre Dame running backs coach Lance Taylor has recruited the Weddington star harder than anyone and that's continued over the last two weeks.

"I wasn't even sure if Coach Taylor and I could create a better relationship or continue to develop a better relationship," Shipley explained. "These past couple of weeks have proved me wrong by being able to speak with him and talk through football and other things. 

"This is a decision that will play a role over the next 40 years of my life. I'm really paying attention to the details." 

The coronavirus may have prevented one-on-one time in South Bend, but Shipley already knows Taylor can make him successful at the next level. 

"Coach Taylor knows how to coach a guy like me," said Shipley. "I know I can use Christian McCaffrey because that's what everyone else uses. He and I are similar on the field. From what Coach Taylor has told me, we're similar off the field. 

"Knowing I can be coached by someone who knows how to produce backs like that and I'm similar, it's just something you have to look into. You can't just throw it to the sidewalk and say it's not important. It's very important to me." 

Brian Kelly showed up at Weddington in the winter and offensive coordinator Tommy Rees is making sure Shipley knows how he'd fit into his offense.

"He's sending me some videos of film to better my game," Shipley stated. "We've spoken on the phone a few times and he came by the school during the open period. 

"My relationship with Coach Rees isn't quite where it is with Coach Taylor, but it's definitely up there. I'm excited to see what he does this upcoming year."

Shipley has also been in contact with Notre Dame's current players to get a feel for Rees as a coach and his plans for the Irish offense moving forward. 

"I've talked to Drew Pyne, Ian Book and a couple others like Jafar (Armstrong)," stated Shipley. "They love what he's developed as the offensive coordinator." 

The North Carolina native has also been looking at factors to help him decide on a school. Depth charts are one area Shipley has taken a look at and while it won't be the most significant factor, he knows Notre Dame needs help.

"Running back depth is another detail my family and I have looked into," Shipley said. "I think it goes to say without even looking at it, Clemson's running back depth is better than Notre Dame's right now and who they're recruiting. Clemson does have a (running back) commit. 

"I look at that stuff, but it doesn't mean I can't beat anyone out. I don't think I'd be in this spot where I am if I didn't have confidence in myself. Running back depth will play a role in where I end up. It's not as big of a role as some of the other factors, but it's something I'm looking into as well." 

When it comes to a commitment, Shipley and other recruits are stuck in a tough position with visits on hold.

Shipley and his family have decided they won't be skipping a step and plan to visit South Bend when the dead period is over. 

"It's what I want to do 100 percent," Shipley said firmly. “I've waited this long and I can wait it out however long it is. Notre Dame is a place you can't leave any marbles on the table and wonder if that's the place you were supposed to end up. 

"My family and I have really thought about it and we want to wait it out. Hopefully, this thing doesn't last all the way to December because I do want to be committed as early as I can and focus on my senior season to enjoy it. 

"As of right now, we are going to wait it out for Notre Dame." 

Shipley is aware of the academic and athletic opportunities at Notre Dame, but the decision to wait it out is also a reflection of his relationship with Taylor. 

"It's a big factor for me," stated Shipley. "Just how much time and stuff they've already put into my recruitment. You can't do someone like that, or if you have to, it has to be the last possible resort. Notre Dame has put so much into my family and I. There's a group of schools I have the utmost respect for and Notre Dame is 100 percent in that group of schools. 

"To leave marbles on the table and not give them a chance to get me back on campus and really let them show me all that they have - Coach Taylor has put so much into my family and I. He came to the school every week that he could. I feel like I'd be doing Notre Dame football and Coach Taylor wrong if I didn't visit. That's the last thing I want to do in my recruitment." 

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