JENNIFER FIERRO • PICAYUNE STAFF
WACO — Former Burnet High School receiver Jordan Shipley’s final route has ended in the Texas High School Football Hall of Fame.
His election was announced in late December. An induction ceremony is 6 p.m. May 9 at the Baylor University Ferrell Center, 1900 S. University Parks Drive in Waco. The cost to attend is $45 for adults and $15 for children.
Shipley is one of eight in the 2015 class. He, along with former Bulldogs quarterback Stephen McGee, led Burnet to a 30-2 record in 2002 and 2003 with two Class 3A state runner-up finishes.
“We’ve always told kids just work hard and be a great teammate,” said Bob Shipley, Jordan’s father and former high school coach. “All the other stuff will take care of itself. I think it’s a wonderful tribute to him and his teammates as well as all of the coaches he’s had. The cool thing is that he did it in our hometown of Burnet. It’s such a special place to our family.”
Shipley is tops in high school career receiving yards at 5,424 and career touchdowns at 73 from 2000 to 2003. He held the state record for most receptions in a career at 264 until Jake Oliver of Dallas Jesuit broke it in 2012. Shipley is now third. His 1,930 receiving yards in 2003 still ranks fifth in the state overall.
His father said no one knew how uniquely gifted his son was at first. Still, the elder Shipley, who is now the Belton High School athletic director and head football coach, said there was plenty of evidence at that time to know the Bulldogs were going to experience some historical seasons.
“It was obvious that we had some special players, and he was one of many,” he 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.”
Jordan Shipley is known more for his quiet demeanor, but after he received word about his election to the hall of fame, he excitedly called his father.
“He doesn’t get too excited about that kind of stuff, but this really took him back,” Bob Shipley said. “He was very humbled and surprised to say the least.”
He said his son was naturally gifted and had a work ethic to go with his goals that included playing college football, which he did at the University of Texas (2004-09) and in NFL. He played for the Cincinnati Bengals and then the Jacksonville Jaguars and was released in 2013.
And yet the other football — soccer — might have been Shipley’s best sport, though he played basketball and competed in track-and-field in high school.
Current Burnet High School athletic director and head football coach Kurt Jones, who was a defensive position coach when Shipley played, said the receiver’s records illustrate how much he deserves the election.
“He’s a great all-around player,” Jones said. “When he was playing for us, he started at cornerback as well as receiver. He played the entire game every game. He was a great return man. He had so many punts and kickoff returns. He kicked extra points and field goals for us.”
Jones said it wasn’t unusual to see McGee and Shipley work on pass routes when school wasn’t in session. Their teammates noticed, which helped motivate them to also put in extra time during the offseason. That extra work helped the players bond and led to the state championship games, Jones said.
Shipley still holds six Longhorns records for receptions, yards and touchdowns. And yet, his father said those don’t rank with what makes him proud of his son.
“I have people tell me all of the time the things he did for them or their child that he never told anyone about,” Bob Shipley said. “That’s what makes me the proudest. I tell kids all of the time that when football is over, you’re stuck with who you are. Don’t ever let football define you as a person. His career ended way too soon because of injuries, unfortunately, but he has no regrets. Those who know him know that he was never going to be defined by the game. But he sure made it fun to watch.”