Oct. 11, 2009
Ryan Graney, Texas Media Relations
In his time at Texas, Jordan Shipley has taken on many different roles. From returning kickoffs and punts and holding field goals on special teams to solidifying himself as one of the top receivers in the program’s history, Shipley has performed each responsibility, often times explosively, but always with great consistency.
Saturday night against Colorado, Shipley’s consistency was rewarded as he moved further up the Longhorns record books. His 147-yard performance with a touchdown reception put him third all-time in receptions and fifth in receiving yards. The senior’s 11 catches on the night made him the only player in UT history to catch 10 or more passes in three consecutive games.
Shipley also scored a touchdown on a punt return for the second time this season, which was his fourth special teams touchdown in his illustrious career.
The Burnet, Texas native has been one of the Longhorns’ most reliable weapons over the last four years, and head coach Mack Brown knows how lucky the program is to have a player like Shipley.
“Jordan Shipley is amazing,” Brown said after Saturday’s 38-14 victory. “What he’s been able to do in the first five games seems to still not be as nationally recognized as I think it should be. He’s done an amazing job.”
Despite the fact Shipley may not be as recognized as his stats would indicate, within the Longhorns’ locker room his contribution is highly appreciated. Sophomore wide receiver Dan Buckner notices how Shipley’s play helps the entire team.
“With a receiver like Shipley, you learn from him,” Buckner said. “The things he does, it’s amazing to see him do.”
Quarterback Colt McCoy knows how important Shipley is to the Longhorns’ overall effort as a team. McCoy and Shipley have helped lead the Texas offense for the last four seasons, and the quarterback values what the senior receiver brings to the table.
“He’s playing really well,” McCoy said. “He’s a guy that defenses really can’t afford to man up on. If they man up on him like they did last night, then we’re going to take advantage of it. He’s a big part of our offense. He’s a playmaker.
“He’s never going to quit. He’s not that type of guy. He’s going to fight and fight until the end. I think he’s earned a lot of respect from our teammates and our coaches and it is starting to pay off for him for sure.”
While his coaches and teammates praise Shipley for his dependable play, the wide receiver is quick to deflect the credit to his teammates.
“I think a lot of that has to do with the other receivers making plays,” Shipley said. “The past few weeks they’ve been making some huge plays. Whenever we have a lot of people involved, the defenses have a hard time taking certain things away. For us as an offense, being able to spread the ball around is a big key to that.”
Along with his teammates, Shipley attributes his ability to find openings in the defense to his childhood. Being the son of a football coach, he remembers how playing football as a youngster helped him develop the instincts he has on the field.
“I think a lot of it kind of has to do with backyard football as a kid,” Shipley said. “You have a feel for how to get open on certain plays and maybe break certain routes off early and just however you have to do it. You kind of have to have a feel for it.”
According to Shipley, playing football as a kid has also helped him with kick and punt returns.
“I think that also goes back to sandlot football as a kid,” Shipley said. “With returns, once you get the ball you have a general idea of where you want to end up, but it’s just kind of free. You have to find creases and see how things are going to develop. A lot lot of it is vision, and a lot of it’s just having a feel for the game just from playing as a kid all the time.”
Shipley’s grasp of the game has helped him become such a versatile and consistent player. The Longhorns know the senior’s strong play offensively and on special teams has been a positive factor to the team starting the season 5-0.
“He does a great job of getting open, and he provides great plays for us on special teams,” McCoy said. “Every time he touches the ball you feel like something special can happen. He’s explosive, he’s versatile, but at the same time, he gives us so much consistency. He really brings it all.”