Shipley on teams allowing him to return kicks: ‘God bless them’

Clemson running back Will Shipley has been one of the Tigers’ most explosive playmakers this season, but he hasn’t just contributed on offense.

The sophomore tailback has played a crucial role on special teams, as he is the Tigers’ primary kickoff returner and has found success.

In eight games, Shipley has taken six kickoffs out of the endzone for 31.66 yards per return. His longest return of the season came against Florida State, when he returned one for 69 yards, setting up a Clemson touchdown on the ensuing play. Meanwhile, when Shipley isn’t the one returning kicks, the Tigers have returned three kickoffs for just 14 yards per return.

Speaking to the media on Tuesday, Shipley expressed his allure to his duty on special teams.

“I love it. Anytime they will kick me the ball, I want to take it to the house,” he said. “If I see that thing floating up there a little short of the goal line, then I’m taking it out. I’m not sure how much teams will kick back there anymore just off our success thus far, but whenever they do, God bless them. We’ve done a great job this season, and I think we’re just going to continue to get better with more opportunities.”

A former five-star recruit, Shipley added that he was on kickoff return duties all four years in high school but took just one kick out of the endzone due to other teams not kicking his way.

Despite the lack of experience in high school, he had a similar role last year as he does this season, returning 14 kickoffs for 27.14 yards per return as a freshman.

“I’m still learning the different parts of it, especially the development from high school to college level — reading different keys, the speed of the game, things like that,” Shipley said. “I’m still getting used to it, but I love it back there.”

Most recently, the 5-foot-11, 205-pound running back returned a kick 32 yards against Syracuse to set the Tigers’ offense up on its own 36-yard line. Clemson suffered a turnover on downs on the drive, but it still gave the Tigers good field position.

Shipley will have a chance to field kickoffs once again this Saturday when the Tigers take on Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind., at 7:30 p.m.

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Story originally appeared on Clemson Wire