Jordan Shipley & Earl Thomas: Skill Position Players are Bigger in Texas


Paul M. Banks reports on National Championship game Media Day

A reporter during National title Media week asked Texas Wide Receiver Jordan Shipley “Are you aware that you don’t look like the prototypical return guy, you don’t look like the prototypical speedster, you don’t look like the prototypical receiver, and do you kind of enjoy proving people and that stereotype wrong?”

This seems like sort of like a bizarre question about… well, maybe it’s just a numbnuts question, not one charged with deeper issues. His 6’0”, 195 pound frame is actually pretty common for the fleetest of wide receivers, but I guess you might say that he’s a bit tall for a return specialist. Regardless, Shipley’s response was: “I don’t know as far as what everybody considers prototypical. As far as a slot guy, I think there’s more and more guys that look like I do that are playing, and also, with the return stuff, I’m just fortunate to be in the spot I am and having a lot of fun and just excited to get to be here and on the stage like this is pretty special way to end my career.”

University of Texas Head Coach (and Captain of the Reggie Cleveland All-Star team) Mack Brown has publicly said that no one has persevered on his team more than Shipley. Colt McCoy’s favorite target articulated about his 6 years as a Longhorn. “I think for me I think for me having the first two years being sidelined and mostly didn’t even get to really practice or anything like that, I came out to the Rose Bowl for both of those first two years and kind of dreamed about what it would be like to come back here, and especially for it to be for the National Championship, I don’t think you could have scripted it any better.”

Like Shipley, Texas Safety Earl Thomas figures to be a 2nd to 3rd round pick come draft day. He’s almost the exact size as Shipley, making him a pretty decent sized DB. But like they say “everything’s bigger in Texas” including the skill position players. Thomas is ranked 2nd at his position by ESPN draft tracker.

Thomas spoke about being in Southern California for the title game. “Well, I’m from a small town, and this definitely is new for me. I’m used to walking around barefooted and just running around all over the place. This is a great place. The air smells clear here, and there are beautiful girls, so it’s definitely going to be a distraction, but it’s also a business trip, and we know what we’re here for. I think it’s going to pay off for us, though,” the Thorpe award finalist said.

Thomas, and his Texas teammates, have found a way to get to the football early and often. The big safety discussed the essence of forcing turnovers. “Well, it happens so fast, you don’t really think about when you get the ball in your hand. The only time I think about it is if you have a long run, you think back when you were in Pop Warner or high school, you just put your head back and run.

As far as scheme wise, we just practice real hard. Freshman year we had a lot of chances to make a lot of turnovers but we couldn’t finish plays. We worked real hard this summer running ball drills. Coach (Duane) Akina did a great job with us after practice with ball drills, and it’s just paying off for us, and we get them in bunches this year,” he said.

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