JENNIFER FIERRO • PICAYUNE STAFF
MARBLE FALLS — Add UCLA to the list of programs with a strong interest in Faith Academy junior Hanner Shipley.
Shipley’s father, Stephen, said the player is attending the team’s elite football camp June 21-23.
“UCLA looks to be on him the hardest,” he said. “He’s looking to get his first offer, but nothing official yet. Once you get your first offer, they start falling after that.”
Hanner Shipley has lined up in various positions, including offensive and defensive lineman. But the University of California, Los Angeles and the University Oklahoma have told the family they like the Flame as a tight end, Stephen Shipley said.
As for the University of Texas and Texas A&M University, Stephen Shipley said those staffs are still evaluating his son.
“For them to look at him at tight end, he needs to prove he can play at tight end,” he said.
The process isn’t unfamiliar to the Shipleys. Stephen Shipley was a receiver at Texas Christian University in the 1980s. His brother, Bob, played for Abilene Christian University and is a football analyst for Texas. Recently, Bob Shipley’s sons, receivers Jordan and Jaxon, became Longhorns. Jaxon will be a junior at UT, while Jordan is a member of the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars.
But Stephen Shipley said the recruiting process has changed.
“You had to have a phenomenal senior year (in high school) to get looked at,” he said.
Shipley graduated from Lindale High School, a Class 3A member, and thought he would play college basketball.
“I thought I was the next Larry Bird,” he said. “I wasn’t going to play football my junior year, I missed two-a-days. I was going to Texas Tech to play basketball.”
But another brother, Ben, was the offensive coordinator for Lindale and convinced his younger sibling to play football.
By the end of the football season, Stephen Shipley was an all-state player.
He spent his senior year sending film to various programs in which he was interested. Two he crossed off his list immediately were Texas A&M and Oklahoma because of their commitment to the wishbone offense.
So he has two pieces of advice for players looking to play on the next level.
“Don’t jump on that first thing you get,” he said. “Don’t tell anybody no, don’t (limit) your options, make an educated decision.”