Jaxon Shipley had big shoes to fill when he arrived on campus four years ago. Shoes he was familiar with.
Shipley followed his big brother, Jordan, to the University of Texas. The older Shipley was a standout on the field. He hauled in 116 passes for 1, 485 yards and 13 touchdowns while helping the Longhorns play for the national championship in 2009. Texas fans knew the younger Shipley planned to play for his brother’s school, joining Colt McCoy’s little brother on the Forty Acres. Many fans thought the McCoy-to-Shipley tradition would continue, as well as national championship appearances.
None of that transpired. Case McCoy saw limited playing time in his career until a season-ending injury to David Ash in 2013 opened the door for him. Shipley battled a groin injury and was limited to 56 catches. Even through the injury, he was still a critical component of the offense. McCoy relied on Shipley for key third and fourth down conversions. He was clutch, with 35 of his grabs going for first downs.
This season a healthy Shipley bodes well for whoever starts at quarterback. Offseason surgery fixed his groin injury. He looked good in the spring game, getting behind the secondary for a sure touchdown had Tyrone Swoopes been able to get him the ball. Shipley is primed to be the quarterback’s security blanket, much like his brother was to McCoy.
Marcus Johnson and Kendall Sanders emerged last season as deep threats. This should open up the middle of the field for Shipley to do his work. A new offensive scheme could also give the receivers more opportunities. If the offensive line can give Ash, Swoopes or even Jerrod Heard enough time to go through their reads, this offense should move the ball and put points on the scoreboard.
It is unlikely that Shipley plays for a national championship like his brother did. Nonetheless, the younger Shipley has had a fantastic career at Texas. Now he can reach a status reserved for his brother with a dominant senior year.