McCoy, Shipley follow path blazed by brothers

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Daily Texan file photo.

Photo Credit: Lauren Gerson | Daily Texan Staff

Case McCoy and Jaxon Shipley know the comparisons to their older brothers will never cease.

Both have big shoes to fill at the same program where Colt McCoy and Jordan Shipley set records, won games, gained cult followings and blazed a trail for their younger siblings to follow.

Yes, the next generation of McCoy-to-Shipley is just getting started at Texas. The new legacy, however, will begin where the old one ended.

The Rose Bowl.

McCoy will make his first career start at quarterback on Saturday at UCLA. He’ll look to find Shipley open early and often as the two try and build on their breakout performance against BYU a week ago, when they hooked up for two completions for 34 yards.

The boyhood friends will start together for the first time on the same field where their older brothers played their final college game, a heart-breaking loss to Alabama in the 2009 BCS National
Championship game.

Their moment is finally here.

“We really dreamed of playing together for a long time,” McCoy said.

But don’t expect the kids to succumb to the pressure of matching their brothers’ performances on the field.

“We both have big shoes to fill,” Shipley said. “But that’s something that I think is only pressure if you see it as that.

“If you get caught up in the pressure side of things, trying to feel like you need to live up to what your brother has done — me and Case both — you can get caught up in that and we really don’t worry about that.”

Wherever they go in Austin, though, Case and Jaxon are constantly reminded of their older brothers’ presence and the deep adoration the fans had from them. Still, they should have a decent idea of what they’re in for.

This week, a chalkboard outside a clothing store on the Drag read, “McCoy to Shipley, #winning.”

The expectations are high, fair or not. But that’s what drives the young McCoy.

“The chip is on Case’s shoulder all the time,” said senior left guard David Snow. “You kind of have that big brother syndrome a little bit that I can see. Your brother was a Heisman candidate here, an All-American, you have big shoes to fill.”

Yes, the relationship between Colt and Jordan is well documented. But Case and Jaxon are out to forge their own story.

They remember playing pick up games at Abiline Christian University together when they were just eight years old. Countless fishing and hunting trips later, and Case and Jaxon are roommates at Texas, just like their older siblings. Yet things are a little different with these two.

“We’re probably a little bit closer,” Shipley said. “We’ve been with each other for a long time. Colt and Jordan really didn’t know each other as young as we did.”

When they’re not on the practice field late at night getting extra work in, McCoy and Shipley relax over music.

“I love to play guitar,” Shipley said. “That’s probably my favorite thing to do. When I get some time off, that’s what I’ll do. I’ll sit in there and play guitar.”

But while his older brother was known for writing his own songs on the guitar, Jaxon prefers to leave the singing to someone else.

“I haven’t quite gotten to that point yet,” Shipley said. “I’m not quite as fancy as he is, but hopefully some day I’ll be able to do that.”

Instead, Case handles the vocals.

The new Longhorn duo, though, wouldn’t be where they are now without a little help from their brothers.

If anything comes up, Case knows exactly who to call.

“I look to [Colt] for a lot of things,” he said. “He’s been here, he’s done this and he knows how it goes. He encourages whatever I need to do.”

Shipley elected to work out with Jordan this spring, rather than enroll early at Texas and take part in spring drills. Not a bad tutor, considering Jordan’s success as a wide receiver with the NFL’s Cincinnati Bengals.

The two spent long days on the practice field, running routes and catching passes. They even worked in the occasional race, tying three times in the 60-yard dash.

There’s just no separating them.

“Most of my game is probably from [Jordan],” Shipley said. “He’s taught me so much on the mental side, just having a strong mind and not letting things get to your head, especially when things aren’t going your way.”

But Jaxon learned more than just mental toughness from Jordan. They mirror one another on the football field. Co-offensive coordinator Major Applewhite says it’s “eerie” watching tape of them because of how similar they look.

Case, too, resembles his older sibling. Both play with a chip on their shoulder, a mentality fostered in high school and fortified in college.

“Their mannerisms are about the same, coming from a small country town,” Snow said.

When head coach Mack Brown and his staff where recruiting McCoy, they weren’t exactly sure which brother they were watching.

“If you put him in Colt’s number [12] and you throw out the names, they looked a lot alike,” Brown said. “He’s very smart, accurate, he’s got any easy ball to catch and he can make plays with his feet, those things
are similar.”

Case and Jaxon are making their first trip back to the Rose Bowl since watching their brothers play their final game in burnt orange at the same venue.

This time, though, they won’t be in the stands. They’ll be on the field. Playing the same game that brought them together as kids.