2011 Longhorn commit Jaxon Shipley at the 7-on-7 State Championship (photo by the author).
Name: Jaxon Shipley
Position: Wide receiver
Speed: 4.55 40-yard dash
High School: Brownwood
Rating (Rivals): Four out of five (5.9)
For Jaxon Shipley, his recruitment was probably all but over when his older brother Jordan elected to become a Longhorn way back in early 2004. Or maybe it was when long-time friend Case McCoy made his commitment to Texas in February of 2009 (insert Roommates 2.0 joke here). Whatever the case, the littlest Shipley has been a Longhorn at heart for some time.
In essence, that pretty much sums up his recruitment. Texas was his only offer and it was clear for some time that Jaxon was good enough to play in Austin and that he would commit given the opportunity. That opportunity came the evening before the first Texas Junior Day of 2010 and Shipley promptly became the first commit in the class. Simple as that.
As for the lack of interest from other schools, that has everything to do with Jaxon being locked into Texas for so long, not simply that he is a Longhorn legacy of sorts as the younger brother of one of the most productive wide receivers in school history. Other schools didn't bother recruiting him because they knew they didn't have a chance. Jaxon reportedly didn't even bother to send out his junior anywhere but Texas.
From a national perspective, the respect is there, albeit somewhat slow in coming. When Jaxon scored about 30 touchdowns and helped Brownwood win the small-school division at the Texas State 7-on-7 Championship last summer, Shipley made his name known on the national stage. He also dominated ($) during the Gridiron Kings event:
Shipley was the go-to option for the Southwest team and even if the defense knew the ball was coming his way, he still made a play...Shipley made many of his catches in the midst of a group of defenders and was knocked down numerous times but always popped back up, ran another great route and made another big catch.
As it stands now, he's the 9th-rated receiver in the country and the 62nd-ranked player overall by Rivals. His just due, that. Respect.
While Shipley was scheduled to enroll at Texas this spring, he decided to forgo both the spring semester of his senior year and early enrollment to spend the spring working out with his older brother Jordan, not exactly a bad tutor.
On his commitment to Texas ($):
It (the meeting with the coaches) went great. We came in, talked about everything and I made my commitment. I'm really excited about that.
Coach Brown asked me if I'm ready, if I want to come here. I said 'yes sir,' and everyone was really excited about it.
Who doesn't want to be like him as a receiver? I've got high goals, and I'm going to chase those goals and chase those dreams. I'm really striving to break his records at Texas. I don't know if that will happen, but it's just good vision for me and something I can go by, something I can dangle in front of my face and try to go after.
On why he chose Texas:
I'm going to Texas because that's the best fit for me, and I love the coaching staff. Obviously, I could have picked somewhere else, but there's nowhere else in the country I'd rather go.
On how well he gets along with his older brother:
There's zero (rivalry). He's probably my best friend. We spend a lot of time together, and I pick his brain about some of the knowledge he has. It's a really good relationship between me and him. He teaches me all the stuff I need to know about the receiver position and just life in general.
On new WR coach Darrell Wyatt ($):
He went to Brownwood and that was when I was in the Army game so I wasn't there. But my dad was at home and he visited my dad. I met him on Wednesday when I came up here and talked to him more this weekend. He's a great coach and a really fun guy to be around. I'm definitely excited to get to know him more and get to play for him.
shipleyinterview.mov (via ghostofbigroy)
- Texas (committed 2/12/2010)
Jaxon isn't exactly a clone of his older brother, as he's a bit taller and doesn't quite possess the same elite burst, quickness, and change-of-direction ability that defined Jordan in high school. However, it's clear that he benefits greatly from being a Shipley in terms of his understanding of the position and route running. If Mike Davis was the most polished receiver from the 2010 class, Shipley will be the most polished receiver in the 2011 class, regardless of who else commits.
Besides his route-running ability, the younger Shipley has excellent speed, but what stands out the most is his ability to elevate and high point the football in traffic. As a result, he should have the opportunity to come in and earn some early playing time, even with the large group of receivers in front of him -- he's that college-ready, even as a junior.
Without seeing more film on Shipley, it's hard to make judgments based on one play, but he did lose a fumble against Graham because he was carrying the ball loosely and away from his body. The comparison to Davis again could be made, but Shipley's ball security is probably quite a bit better than the former Skyline star, who often carried the ball in high school like it was a loaf of bread.
The only other negative about Shipley is his strength -- he will need several years in the weight room before he even begins to approximate the strength of his older brother, which could impact his ability to fight off press coverage. That may or may not be a factor in his early playing time, depending on if he ends up at flanker or in the slot, as the slot receiver normally plays off the line of scrimmage, making it difficult for opponents to use press coverage in those situations.
From the 7-on-7 State Championship:
Jordan's younger brother and Case McCoy's future roommate at Texas appears ready to step out of the considerable shadow cast by his brother. Now standing at a legitimate 6-1 and a much more chiseled 180 pounds (up about 12 pounds from last season), Shipley has grown and filled out over the last year and his body is starting to look college-ready.
What has been ready for some time has been his route-running -- his ability to create separation is nationally elite and a result of not only running crisp routes, but also selling his routes with his head and shoulders, something that few receivers of his age do well. It's a result of a lot of hard work and the tutelage of both his father, the coach at Brownwood, and his brother, with whom he works constantly on all the subtle aspects of the position.
Like his brother, his double moves are virtually unstoppable and his height allows him to go up and high-point the football in traffic, while his strong hands allow him to bring the ball down more often than not. As with the rest of his game, he catches every pass with his hands and attacks the football each and every time. Not once did he let the ball get into his body.
Shipley inspires such a high level of confidence in his play that it was extremely surprising when he wasn't able to come down with a football in traffic, which rarely happened. Judging by his reactions, the Brownwood star expects to make every play possible, too.
His speed is not his greatest asset and he's still not as fast or dynamic with the ball in his hands as his brother was at the same age, but he's more advanced as an overall wide receiver and his added height makes him an easier target. And frankly, though faster receivers may be able to get open more often on fly routes, Shipley can consistently beat his man because he doesn't reveal what route he is running until he has eaten up the defensive back's cushion and at that point, only the most elite defensive back would even have a chance against him. All that is not to say that he isn't a strong athlete, because he is and his improvements in that respect over the last year reflect that.
In a word, Shipley was simply unstoppable and one of the top players at the entire event regardless of classification. He averaged about three or four touchdown catches a game and it's not a stretch to guess that he scored 25 or more touchdowns in the two days he competed. His showing at the tournament may help him make a greater impact on the national scene and adds fuel to the argument that he is the best receiver in the state, but ultimately none of the rankings or accolades matter because it's impossible to fault the Texas coaching staff for taking Shipley above Trey Metoyer.
In talking with him at the event and watching the way that he goes about his business, it's clear that he's every bit the solid citizen that his brother was and that he will represent the University of Texas every bit as well. An extremely likable kid with a quick smile, it was impossible not to come away from College Station as an absolute Jaxon Shipley fan. He's going to be fantastic, folks.
From the game against Llano:
At this point, Shipley is who everyone thinks he is. Just that the national recruiting experts are only now catching on to all that.
After dominating during the Texas 7-on-7 Championships and earning the Overall MVP in the small school classification, the trip out to Llano was more about seeing Shipley do the same thing with pads on. Not that there was any doubt that he would.
As a result, there isn't a whole lot to add -- Shipley attacks the football with his hands and is a natural pass catcher and his route-running is crisp and fluid. At the high school level, there probably aren't more than a handful of cornerbacks in the country good enough to stay with him on the double moves that made his brother famous in college. He has good speed and ability to change direction, but he's not elite in either of those regards.
From watching the game it's clear that he's a willing downfield blocker, expected from someone who clearly takes the game as seriously as Shipley. He'll have to get stronger to be effective in college -- the good news is that he has enough size that he's eventually going physically overmatch his opponents.
Unfortunately, Shipley didn't have any chances to return kicks or punts, as Llano elected not to use sky kicks on kickoffs and most of the punts were short as well. However, Shipley did not seem particularly aggressive coming forward to field those punts.
Overall, as mentioned earlier, Shipley is who everyone thinks he is right now and that is one of the most polished high school receivers in the country and a player with an extremely bright future in the game of football.
The positives from Jeff Howe ($):
I cannot overstate that for someone at his age I have never seen someone who understands the receiver position like Shipley does. All of nuances of playing receiver that you would think it would take time and years to accumulate, it seems like he already has them all.
He has tremendous awareness of where he is on the field. He uses the sideline well and really does a good job of putting himself in position to make a play after the catch.
He measures legitimately at 6-foot-1 but he plays much bigger than his height indicates. He can play the slot but he looks more comfortable playing the flanker and whether he is in double or triple coverage he always seems to find a way to get open.
I love the way he attacks the football. This goes back to playing bigger than he is because he has that mentality that when the ball is in the air it’s his. For a smaller receiver he has an exceptional grasp of body position and can get himself between the defender and the football.
Shipley also brings the "wow" factor to the table with a knack for making the big catch. His best catch when I saw him against Graham was a touchdown he caught on a post route that he pulled down in basically triple coverage. He will make the tough catches look shockingly easy. He’s very consistent and won’t drop balls that are in his vicinity.
His route running is exceptional and that goes to show just how much work he puts into his craft. Along with being a player with a ton of savvy, he also has good explosion off of the line and can create separation in just a few quick steps.
ESPN evaluation ($):
This kid is one of those receivers that if you don't pay attention he will burn you big time. There are going to be WR's that are bigger, stronger and faster, but Shipley has savvy and instincts for the position and most importantly spectacular hands in every situation. He possesses deceptively good speed and can lull DB's to sleep on deeper routes as he knows how to change gears with spurts of burst and create separation, but ultimately he is quicker than he is fast. He has great feet and his overall quickness may give the appearance that he is faster than he is. Nevertheless, Shipley makes plays. He displays tremendous body control and adjusts extremely well to balls thrown outside of his frame. He is also a very good leaper that has a knack for timing jumps and knowing when to go up and attack the ball in traffic. He has great sideline awareness on outside routes and knows how to attack coverage and settle into soft spots in zone coverage. He has some innate qualities when it comes to getting open and a great feel for what is going on around him. His ability to focus and pluck passes is terrific. He always extends away from his frame and snags the ball with ease and comfort. He can catch the ball over his head as well as any WR we have seen in recent years. Shipley is a guy that is the perfect complement in a three-wide set. At the next level he would be at his best in the slot and utilized as a motion guy where he can't be pressed at the line. His ability to decipher zone coverage from an underneath and intermediate standpoint would make him a huge factor out of the slot. Overall, Shipley needs to add strength and bulk, but he possesses many intangibles that can't be coached. Good prospect that could surprise at the next level.
- Route running -- Without belaboring this point, Shipley is extremely crisp with his routes and consistently creates separation out of his breaks. Like his brother, excellent on double moves.
- Hands -- Shipley has excellent hands and catches the football away from his body nearly every time.
- Leaping ability -- Like his brother, Shipley can go up and attack the football at the highest point to make himself a threat in the red zone.
- Return ability -- The 2010 season was a nightmare in the punt return game for Texas and Shipley scored five touchdowns as a senior on punt returns. Not sure how many teams kicked away from him, but Llano certainly did. His sure hands and football intelligence to make the right decision make him a viable candidate to return punts at Texas.
- Big-play ability -- It's a cliche, but Shipley flat-out makes plays underneath the bright lights. Will it translate to college? The guess here is a resounding yes.
- Strength -- Though Jaxon has noticeably added some bulk since his junior season, he's still a bit on the light side and will benefit from the spring working with his older brother and a summer grinding with Bennie Wylie.
- Top-end speed -- This is the biggest concern about Jaxon, one that is mitigated to a large extent by his route running. Still, even if he gets past defensive backs in college, it's not out of the question for him to get caught a few times from behind.
Shipley7on.mov (via ghostofbigroy)
2011 Texas Commit Jaxon Shipley v Llano (via ghostofbigroy)
Jaxon Shipley Punt Return Touchdown (via BrownwoodNewsVideo)
Jaxon Shipley Sophomore Highlight!!! (via TexasPreps)
Target Weight -- 180-185 pounds. The listed 170 pounds for Shipley is about as legitimate as any out there for high school kids and 10 pounds of muscle will go a long way towards making sure that Shipley stays healthy and durable in college. At the same time, maintaining/improving his speed is major priority, something that seems achievable with only 10 pounds of bulk added.
(photo by the author)
At this point, like any commit who hasn't yet made it onto campus, Shipley is still all potential. However, he's so refined and such a hard worker that barring injury he's about as much of a sure thing as there is in recruiting. Sure, his speed is not elite, but his route running, hands, and ability to go up and get the football are elite. Kid is a flat-out stud.
Even if it didn't say Shipley on the back of his jersey, he would still have been a no-brainer offer for Texas. The name on the back of his jersey just made his recruitment extremely easy for the Texas coaches.
Will he be as productive as his older brother? Those are huge shoes to fill. At the least, Jaxon will do everything possible to make his big brother proud.
(photo by the author)
Impact ETA: 2011. Like Mike Davis last season, Shipley should step onto campus and be ready to contribute. He won't be as strong or as fast as he will be when he leaves the program, but his overall refinement will be enough to give him a shot to play early and he'll be aided by Harsin's philosophy of rewarding players who practice well with game reps.
Read past Texas recruiting spotlights.