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Apollo-Ridge WR Tipton commits to Pitt

| Saturday, June 14, 2014, 8:48 p.m.
Erica Dietz | Valley News Dispatch
Apollo-Ridge's Tre Tipton attempts to get around Avonworth's Brad Mankey during a Friday, Sept. 27, 2013, game.
Bill Shirley | For The Valley News Dispatch
Apollo-Ridge receiver Tre Tipton (right) catches a touchdown against Sto-Rox during the first half of a WPIAL Class A quarterfinal playoff game Friday, Nov. 8, 2013, at Deer Lakes.
Jason Bridge | Valley News Dispatch
Apollo-Ridge's Tre Tipton (1) runs past North Catholic's Eric Timbers (3) on Friday, Aug. 30, 2013, at Lt. J.C. Stone Field in North Park.

Tre Tipton said Pitt football made him feel like part of the family, and it was that trust and closeness that led to him to verbally commit to the program Saturday night.

The 6-foot-1, 170-pound rising senior from Apollo-Ridge was recruited to play wide receiver for the Panthers, who offered him a scholarship after his performance at the team's prospect camp June 6.

He was on campus again Saturday.

Tipton, a first-team all-state defensive back, had offers from Michigan State, Akron, Toledo, Massachusetts, Ohio, Duquesne and St. Francis (Pa.).

“Pitt's a family. Everyone works together,” said Tipton, also a standout in basketball and track. “Nobody on that team dislikes each other. They all chill together and all have the same goal, and that's to win.”

Long discussions with his mother, Kim, and his coach, John Skiba, helped him negotiate forks in the road and choose the correct path.

Skiba also played at Pitt, and Tipton said the coach was “ecstatic” about his decision. And so was another coach.

“Coach Chryst said he couldn't wait for me to come in and put work in,” Tipton said.

“I got to talk with (former Clairton star) Tyler Boyd (at the camp). He told me he felt like he could be a big help to me. He thinks we can work together well as teammates.”

Skiba did not push Tipton toward Pitt but advised him to put more thought into the situation.

“I'm a Pitt guy, but it was all his decision,” Skiba said. “He felt at home with the players and staff. I'm excited for him. I love that the hometown kid is staying.”

Heinz Field was a regular stop for Tipton last season as he took in several Pitt home games.

He felt the rapid-fire nature of the recruiting process, even committing to Toledo on June 1 before consulting with people in his circle. He de-committed the next day after the hasty choice.

“It's a big sigh of relief,” said Tipton, who caught 44 passes for 697 yards and 14 touchdowns and intercepted five passes, last season.

“I can enjoy the fact that I am going to college. I know I put a lot of people through stress, my mom included. It's a learning process. But I am blessed to be in a process. I feel lucky.”

The rangy and high-jumping Tipton was thrilled to learn the Panthers want to throw passes his way.

“If they want me as a receiver, I am all ears,” Tipton said, “and hands.”

Penn State's prospect camp was a possibility on Tipton's schedule before he decided to close the book on other offers.

Tipton becomes the seventh Pitt recruit from the Class of 2015, joining another Alle-Kiski player, Kittanning receiver/tight end Nick Bowers. Tipton and Bowers will meet on the field this coming season now that the Class AA Allegheny Conference has been revamped and Apollo-Ridge moved up a class.

“I can't wait to get started (at Pitt), but I have my senior left, and we want to keep winning and keep things going (at Apollo-Ridge),” Tipton said.

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

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