You’ll find it hard to find a more humble, appreciative yet freakishly gifted athlete than Burnet’s Jordan Shipley.
He is one of eight men being inducted into the Texas High School Football Hall of Fame on Saturday, and Shipley will never forget where it all started.
“It hasn’t really sunk in yet,” Shipley said. “To be linked to these great players is an incredible honor. I can’t feel more humbled or blessed”
Playing for his father Bob Shipley at Burnet High School, Jordan Shipley blazed his way through some of Texas high school football’s most prolific receiving records. He ended his high school career as the state leader in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns. His catches record didn’t fall until Dallas Jesuit’s Jake Oliver overtook him in grabs in 2012.
“It was obvious that we had some special players, and he was one of many,” Bob Shipley said. “After his junior year, I knew he had a chance to be a college player. He was fortunate to be surrounded by a lot of good players and a great quarterback, of course.”
If almost every receiving record wasn’t enough, Shipley, alongside former Texas A&M and Dallas Cowboy quarterback Stephen McGee, guided the Bulldogs to back-to-back state championship games in 2002 and 2003. Shipley was named the Class 3A Offensive Player of the Year and a was a two-way all-state honoree at receiver and defensive back both seasons. His prolific high school career earned him a spot on the Texas Football Super Team, as well as the honor of playing in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.
“Definitely the most fun times I had playing football,” Shipley said. “We had some special teams and players and it a great time in my life.”
After high school, Shipley packed up his bags and headed to Austin to play for the University of Texas, where the record breaking continued. There, he hooked up with another infamous Texas gunslinger in Tuscola’s Colt McCoy, shredding opposing defenses week in and week out. Shipley slashed his way to six UT single-game and career receiving records, including setting the season record for most yards (1,485) and receiving touchdowns (13) in 2009.
Making it to the BCS National Championship that year, Shipley grabbed two touchdowns in the eventual loss to Alabama.
“Just an incredible place to play,” Shipley said. “Playing for (Longhorns coach Mack Brown), it just felt like home. But I couldn’t have done any of it without my success and time that I had in high school.”
Shipley was drafted in the third round of the NFL 2010 draft by the Cincinnati Bengals. Though a torn ACL and concussions played a big part in his early retirement, his name and amazing Friday night feats still reign supreme around Central Texas football stadiums.
Reflecting back on his high school years, Shipley sees those as some of the better times of his career.
“I think you can ask any athlete that played at all three levels, and they would tell you that they never had more fun playing than they did in high school,” Shipley said. “Especially playing in a one school town, the camaraderie and support that Stephen and the guys and I had in Burnet, it was special. I’ll never forget it.”