Jake Shipley was shocked when he got his first football scholarship offer in the final days of 2018.
“That was cray. ... I didn’t really like wrap my head around it,” Shipley said. “A couple of days after I got it, I was lifting and I was like, ‘Wow. I really don’t have to pay for college.’ ”
Shipley, a 6-foot-5 defensive end for Indio Shadow Hills High, had been playing on defense for only a few months. He transitioned from offensive tackle before his junior year and didn’t feel as if he knew how to properly play his new position until the final two games last season.
He sent out his film to college coaches and hit the camp circuit at the end of winter. Soon he was fielding attention from schools all over the West. Coaches were intrigued by Shipley’s aggressiveness and play-making potential as a first-year defensive player.
“I didn’t think it was going to turn into anything like this and calls kept coming and coming and [coaches] calling me and it was crazy,” Shipley said. “It was pretty stressful for me because I like never had my phone down. Colleges always wanted to call, always texting me and all that and I’m probably the worst, the worst player at texting back coaches.”
Shipley was feeling overwhelmed by the recruiting process and constant communication. That played a part in expediting his recruitment. He narrowed his list of schools to a top five less than four months after his first offer.
He took three official visits in June and committed to Oregon before making it home from Eugene on his third one.
“I wanted to end the process, but I think it’s the best decision for me. I think I made a good decision with Oregon,” Shipley said. “It’s just a great place. The coaches are just top notch over there. I think those are the best coaches in the nation, honestly. It’s a good place for education. Just everything about it is just great to me. I think that’s where I can have the best success.”
Shipley does not plan to take any other official visits. Other schools have texted him occasionally, but Shipley said he’s “pretty strong in staying with Oregon, so I don’t really think there’s going to be a switch-up or anything.”
Shipley bulked up in the offseason by eating four meals and drinking a really dense protein shake every day. He also hit the weight room for strenuous lifting sessions twice a day.
He weighed 250 pounds at the Opening Los Angeles Regional in February. Now Shipley says he’s at 275. Perhaps more importantly, he maintained his speed. Now he is able to beat offensive tackles with quickness and power.
“I feel like I can use my power more efficiently now. Just like getting off blocks, shedding easier. It’s a pretty big plus for me out there,” Shipley said. “I think I’m having a pretty good year so far. Obviously, my offseason is paying off for me pretty good, so I’m just trying to keep it up and do the same thing in league games.”
He’s off to a fast start in his senior season.
Shipley had two fumble recoveries, returning one for a touchdown, and scored an offensive touchdown in the first half of Shadow Hills’ opener.
He forced a fumble and recovered it in the end zone for a second defensive touchdown the following week. Shipley scored his fourth touchdown of the season in Week 3 and added a pair of sacks.