Three seasons ago, Hanner Shipley was playing six-man football in front of a few dozen fans. Starting in 2015, he’ll have a much larger audience.
Shipley announced Wednesday that he had committed to LSU’s football program as a tight end. Shipley, a junior, played at Marble Falls Faith in 2013, but he has since enrolled at Marble Falls High.
“The (LSU) fans are insanely crazy and have so much pride, it’s awesome,” said Shipley, who also was offered by UCLA as an offensive lineman. “I wanted to make my own path. LSU seemed like the place I’d fit in best.”
A 6-foot-5-inch, 260-pound cousin of University of Texas receiving standouts Jordan and Jaxon, Hanner Shipley had 20 receptions for 310 yards and five touchdowns in 2013. He also blocked for a Marble Falls Faith offense that produced two 1,000-yard rushers.
“I think he’s got all the potential in the world,” said Marble Falls Faith coach Russell Roberts. “He’s got the size and he’s got the pedigree. He’s dedicated to trying to be a college football player.”
Shipley was on Marble Falls Faith’s six-man squad as a freshman, but he transferred to Marble Falls High and played on the defensive line during an injury-shortened sophomore season. Shipley returned to Marble Falls Faith in 2013, and he helped the Flames to a 10-1 record in the school’s second season as an 11-man football program.
The move back to Marble Falls High will give Shipley a chance to face stiffer competition during his senior year. Shipley said he expects to line up as a left tackle in the Mustangs’ spread offense.
East View celebrates signees: In its third year of existence, East View High will hold its first signing ceremony next week. Senior catcher Kaley Batchlear has announced that she will play softball at Texas Wesleyan while senior pitcher Kayleigh Williams will join the softball program at Jones County Junior College in Ellisville, Miss.
Last season, East View qualified for the Class 4A playoffs, losing to Huntsville in a bi-district series.
Smithville restores soccer: The Smithville school district has decided to restore boys and girls high school soccer, three years after the sports were eliminated as part of a $2 million budget cut.
The district’s decision to add soccer as a University Interscholastic League-level sport came in part because of recent UIL changes governing high school soccer. This season, UIL soccer teams will compete as either Class 5A or Class 4A squads, but starting with the 2014-15 school year, teams will be spread across three classifications. Smithville now competes in Class 3A in all sports.
The UIL rule change helped spur the district’s decision, which came at a Dec. 16 school board meeting.
“That was definitely a big part of it,” said Wayne Childs, the district’s athletics director. “We knew that we could have a level playing field.”
Smithville’s future soccer district likely will stretch over a large area since a limited number of Class 3A schools now field soccer squads. Giddings, La Grange, Sealy and Brookshire-Royal are among the nearby 3A schools that play soccer.
“We are expecting a district that could stretch from here to Houston,” Childs said.
— Chris Dukes, Bastrop Advertiser