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Jaxon Shipley: Leaving No Doubt

Say what you will about Jaxon Shipley’s national status

as a college football prospect, the bottom line with the Brownwood wide

receiver is that he gets the job done. While you won’t find him on many

national recruiting rankings lists, one place you’ll definitely find Shipley is

in the end zone scoring touchdowns and making big plays like he did over the

weekend at the 7-on-7 State Tournament.
He’s not the biggest, strongest, or even the fastest

player out there when he steps onto the football field, but like he showed in

helping Brownwood win the Division II Texas 7-on-7 state championship in

College Station on Friday, Shipley presents a bevy of problems for any defense.

Single coverage, double coverage, triple coverage, an assortment of man and

zone looks – Shipley beat anything and everything teams threw his way during

Brownwood’s perfect 9-0 run in the tournament.

It’s a unique blend of physical skills and feel for the

game that makes Shipley – an ESPN.com four-star prospect and the No. 16-ranked

prospect in the Inside Texas 2011 Top 100 – a force.

The talented 6-foot-1, 180-pounder is one of the savviest

route runners and most knowledgeable receivers the state of Texas has produced

in recent years. Combine his polish and mental aptitude for the position with

quick feet and a rapidly developing physical skill set and it’s easy to see why

an elite national program like Texas was all over him from the beginning of his

recruitment.

Really, Shipley’s recruitment started back in 2004 for

all intents and purposes when his older brother Jordan Shipley, who would later

go on to earn All-American honors at Texas, signed with the Longhorns. The two

are sure to be compared until Jaxon Shipley’s time on the 40 Acres is done

because of the bond they share as brothers, but there are some difference

between the two at the same stage of development.

Jordan Shipley was an impressive high school athlete with

exceptional straight-line speed and burst and a gift not only for stretching

the field vertically but for taking a short hitch or slant route and turning it

into a big play. Jaxon Shipley isn’t as fast, or as naturally quick as his

older brother was when he was shredding defenses at Burnet, but he’s more of a

polished receiver who has a knack for manipulating man coverage and attacking

the football in the air with his bigger frame.

While the older Shipley appears to have the edge in

overall athletic ability, little brother is gaining some ground. Shipley said

he had an excellent offseason where added around 12 pounds of lean muscle and

it shows as his body is starting to develop into that of a college receiver.

The added muscle mass has also helped Shipley’s speed and explosion and he said

he’s got nothing but the hard work required in his father’s (Brownwood head coach

Bob Shipley) offseason program.

“Going through this offseason was pretty tough,” Shipley

said. “I bulked up a little bit. It’s going good. I need to get a little bit

bigger, but other than that everything is great.”

Everything was great over the weekend as Brownwood rolled

its way through the Division II field (Class 3A and under) before defeating

Cameron Yoe in the tournament championship game at Kyle Field.

While some schools mix it up and run an assortment of

specific 7-on-7 plays, but Brownwood opts to use the summer to refine what they

do and they did it very well in College Station.

Last summer Shipley mentioned that several of his

teammates were adjusting to the offensive scheme his father used at Burnet and

Coppell, but this time around he said a big reason for their dominance was the

comfort level after having more than one full year under their belts together.

“We’re running our normal offense,” Shipley said. “We’re

out here getting a lot of reps and its going to help us tremendously next year.”

The dominating 7-on-7 showing not only earned Shipley a

spot on the All-Tournament team, but it also capped off what has been an

exceptional summer. Shipley lit it up in June at Texas’ one-day minicamp on

June 6 and many of his fellow commits, including Angleton’s Quandre Diggs, were

singing his praises.

Shipley said he appreciated the compliments from his

future teammates, including his future roommate Diggs, and he was thrilled to

be able to perform at his best in front of his peers.

“I felt like I did well,” Shipley said. “Quandre – he’s a

lockdown guy and I went against him a couple of times. It was a battle the

whole time. I feel like I did really well and I’m pretty excited about the way

I performed.”

Shipley said going against elite defensive backs like

Diggs has helped him realize that while he’s playing at a high level there is

still work to be done. Shipley said the one area of his game he’s trying to

work on in addition to the physical aspect is becoming an even better route

runner.

“I guess just trying to polish my routes more,” Shipley

said. “That’s not to say they were bad or anything, but I need to work on

things like head fakes and trying to trick the defenders and stuff like that.”

Now with the summer behind him, Shipley is now getting ready

for his final high school season and the expectations haven’t been this high at

Brownwood in quite some time. The Lions advanced to the regional semifinals

last year and lost a close ball game to Wimberley amidst some terrible weather

conditions.

With nine starters back on each side of the ball,

Brownwood has been ranked as high as No. 2 in some preseason Class 3A polls and

many Lions fans are thinking this might be the year when the school wins its

eighth state title, which would end a 29-year title-less drought.

From the added bulk to the camp performances and the

7-on-7 success, Shipley has long been in the frame of mind needed to help

Brownwood get back to the to the top of the Texas high school football pecking

order.

“Our whole offseason is based on winning, teamwork and

coming together,” Shipley said. “That’s really helped us a lot.”