Temple’s Shippen makes most of big chance
an SEC opponent since 1938.
In that moment, Shippen grabbed his first career reception and touchdown at the same time.
“When I caught it,” Shippen said, “I saw the corner fall behind me and the safety kind of jump it, so I had a bit of a head start on them. I saw all green grass from there and just ran as fast as I could.
“It was a good feeling and it went by fast, but it was heartwarming.”
That might be the best way to put it, because a lot has changed for Shippen in a relatively short amount of time.
At this time last season, the 5-foot-11, 190-pound Shippen was a little-used defensive back who was playing mostly on special teams. That’s how he spent most of his first two seasons at Temple. But when Temple coach Matt Rhule and his offensive coordinator Marcus Satterfield talked to the junior about switching to wide receiver prior to spring drills, Shippen saw it Brandon Shippen as an opportunity, even though he had never played the position before.
“I had caught a couple of passing touchdowns coming out of the backfield or in the slot when I was at Norristown,” Shippen said, “but I was never a wideout. They told me they wanted to try me on offense and I considered it and then just took it and ran with it.”
That, he did. Shippen started last Thursday night and caught two passes for a game-high 60 yards. Grabbing that pass on a gutsy fourth-down call set the tone for a Temple team that was
looking to get off to a good start and wash away the memory of a frustrating 2-10 season in 2013. And Shippen’s emergence has been critically important for an Owls offense that had to replace a dynamic receiver in Robby Anderson, who was dismissed from the university following the season due to academics.
“We’re looking at it like we have a lot of capable receivers that can make plays and we have a great quarterback in P.J.,” Shippen said. “So I just made the play when my time came and I want to keep doing that.”
Shippen, whose Owls are looking to improve to 2-0 when they host Navy Saturday at Lincoln Financial Field, feels fortunate to be playing with a trio of fellow Norristown products in senior cornerback Anthony Robey, junior defensive back Ikeem Boyd and freshman tight end Kip Patton.
“We all grew up in the same neighborhood,” Shippen said, “so it’s great to be with people you’ve been around all your life and played with in high school and be able to just continue playing with them. We’ve all got a great bond and it means a lot for us to be doing well for Norristown.”
Shippen earned PIAA Class AAAA all-state honors as a senior while playing for former Norristown coach E.J. Smith, but prior to that went through his entire junior season without getting a single Division I scholarship offer. Programs like Pitt, Rutgers and UConn showed some interest, but none of them offered.
All the while, Shippen stayed in touch with Robey and followed his career at Temple.
“I saw how good Temple was to him,” Shippen said. “So I sent out my junior film, Temple came calling and that’s how it happened. So I wouldn’t say he was telling me I had to go there, but he did show me what Temple was about and that meant a lot.”
Shippen attended a Temple one-day football camp in June of 2011, got an offer from the Owls and took it.
“I just really loved Temple and they just showed me so much love that I couldn’t really go anywhere else,” Shippen said. “There was no sense in waiting on other offers. And being able to be close to home is with it.”
Signing with Temple afforded Shippen the opportunity to be close to his family, which includes four brothers — Vonte Shippen (23), Devin Bowsky (19), Dars Bowsky (13), and Joshua Bowsky (10) — and two sisters — Nya Shippen (12) and Liyah Bowsky (11).
“They’ll all be there Saturday when we play Navy,” Shippen said.