But Jordan Shipley, 23, did not become a complete player and person at Texas until leg injuries kept him off the team in 2004 and 2005, nearly ending his playing days. Facing football mortality, Shipley found himself. “There just came a defining moment in his life where he made the decision that his commitment to football was not going to define him as a person,” Bob Shipley, Jordan’s father, who coached Jordan in high school, said in a telephone interview. “And that’s really when he really started being successful.”
Texas Coach Mack Brown said he considered telling Shipley to give up football.
But Shipley took his time away from the game to develop in other ways. He discovered a passion for music as a guitar player, a singer and a songwriter. When football was taken away, “I had to kind of figure out who I was as a person and what I stood for,” he said in a telephone interview.
“He’s awesome,” Colorado Coach Dan Hawkins said of Shipley in a telephone interview. “He’s obviously very talented, but he’s got that divine spark.”
Shipley’s rhythm on the field is in sync with his life off it. Shipley describes his music as a mix of country and Americana, styled after musicians like John Mayer and Jack Johnson. He has stopped watching television because he prefers to play his Alvarez acoustic guitar while singing and writing songs at his house.
“It really just soothes me,” Shipley said.
Shipley recently started playing in a band at Fellowship of Christian Athletes worship meetings at Texas, and has written nearly a dozen songs and recorded a few of them. In July, it only took him a few hours to write his first song, “Moving On,” about being stuck in the city and longing to get away.