NCAA grants Texas' request for medical hardship to give Shipley senior season

Updated: December 22, 2008, 10:07 PM ET
By Tim Griffin | ESPN.com

Texas wide receiver Jordan Shipley will return for his senior season in 2009 after the NCAA granted the school's hardship request for a sixth season of eligibility Monday.

Shipley missed the entire 2004 and 2005 seasons because of knee and hamstring injuries. But he regained his health, and he produced a career-best 79 receptions for 982 yards and 11 touchdowns this season to earn third-team All-America honors from The Associated Press.

"It is definitely a blessing to be able to play one more season at Texas," Shipley said. "This is such a great place, and I've had an unbelievable experience. Obviously, it started slow due to the injuries, but I couldn't be happier with the NCAA's decision to give me one of those years back."

Shipley will be reunited with Texas quarterback Colt McCoy who announced after the Texas A&M game last month that he will be returning for his senior season.

Shipley's 79 receptions this season rank second on the school's single-season receiving list, trailing Kwame Cavil's record 100 receptions in 1999. And Shipley's 96-yard kickoff return against Oklahoma for a touchdown helped spark a comeback from an early 11-point deficit in Texas' eventual 45-35 victory.

"We're really excited for Jordan and our team that he's been granted a sixth year," Texas coach Mack Brown said. "It was so disappointing for him as he fought through injuries and wasn't able to play his first two years, but he never wavered.

"He continued to work hard and stayed positive through it all and has become a tremendous player for us. His efforts should inspire those who are going through tough times that if you stick with it, you can overcome that adversity."

The Longhorns (11-1) will meet Ohio State (10-2) in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, Ariz., on Jan. 5.

Tim Griffin covers college football for ESPN.com. You may contact him at espntimgriff@yahoo.com.