Apollo-Ridge junior Tipton gaining Division I interest

| Wednesday, July 10, 2013, 11:57 p.m.

As far as his high school sports future goes, Tre Tipton says he is staying put.

Cue the collective sigh of relief from Kiskiminetas to Young Township.

Sound the Spring Church bells.

This much is clear: If the rising junior standout is going to continue down a projected path to a Division I college career, he'll do so at Apollo-Ridge.

“I think he knows how much I think of him as well as how much these coaches and teammates care about him, and he feels comfortable,” Apollo-Ridge coach John Skiba said.

Other high schools, no doubt, covet Tipton's skills. He has lived in Jeannette and Penn Hills and has family in the Woodland Hills School District.

But Tipton, a standout wide receiver and defensive back, said to stop any transfer talk.

“I'm not going anywhere,” he said. “A lot of people think I am. Nope. I am here to stay.”

Football recruiting is heating up for Tipton, who has an offer from St. Francis (Pa.), but his pursuers range from Tennessee to Penn State, among others.

“I want to stay here and be known as a D-I kid from Apollo-Ridge,” he said.

Apollo has to let Tipton out of its sight periodically. Like this week: The 6-foot-1, 155-pounder takes part in the Peyton Manning Passing Academy Thursday through Sunday at Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, La.

Tipton's grandfather, who lives near the campus on the outskirts of New Orleans, signed him up for the camp.

“There's going to be 1,200 kids there,” Tipton said. “Hopefully, I can show what I am all about.”

Tipton, who will receive instruction from a trio of Mannings — Archie and Eli included — plans to check out Tennessee next Friday.

His summer has been injected with the typical camp trips associated with potential recruits.

Tipton attended the Penn State underclassmen camp. Skiba said Penn State quarterbacks coach Charlie Fisher and other coaches rated Tipton as the top receiver at the event.

Apollo-Ridge tested its 7-on-7 skills at camps at Pitt and St. Francis.

North Allegheny, Montour, Thomas Jefferson and Clairton were among the teams at Pitt.

“I think we learned a lot, and Tre and his teammates learned they can compete on that level,” Skiba said.

At the St. Francis 7-on-7 passing camp, which Apollo-Ridge won, Tipton saw double- and triple-teams against Kiski Area.

“That show of respect was awesome,” Skiba said. “Tre played well in that game, and because of all the attention he got, we were able to use other players to win.”

Tipton still found a way to get noticed and caught the attention of St. Francis coaches, who offered him a scholarship.

Penn State, Virginia, Northwestern and Tennessee also have shown interest. Tipton has been invited to Virginia's prospect camp.

“The thing about Tre is how good of a kid he is,” Skiba said. “He's good with younger players. He's good with elementary kids. Everyone cares about him and wants him to succeed. It's great watching him progress and mature, and I'm really excited about what this year will bring for him and his teammates.

“He is a great teammate and wants nothing more than to lead this school district with his teammates into prominence.”

Also a standout point guard, Tipton is not ruling out a college basketball career. College attention has been on the light side, but should intensify in the coming months.

“To be honest, I don't plan on committing until after my senior year,” Tipton said. “I want to see what all of my options are in (both sports).”

And until then, Tipton hopes to surround himself with family members are friends who have his best interest in mind.

Top recruits often have to shrink their circle of contacts as the process winds.

“It's easy to see who wants you to go where,” Tipton said. “There are only a few people I really look to. I know they'll help me see what's good for me for the next two years, and I can keep up my grades and eventually go to the place that's right for me.”

For now, that place is Apollo-Ridge.

Bill Beckner Jr. is the local sports editor of the Valley News Dispatch. Reach him at bbeckner@tribweb.com.

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