(EDITOR’S NOTE: We’ll profile USF’s other #17, safety Josh Dunn, with the rest of the true freshmen next week.)
#17 RB Tyler Pippens
Redshirt Freshman, 5’10", 160 lbs.
2015 Stats: Pippens redshirted last year.
Position on Depth Chart: Tyler was not listed on the depth chart following spring practice.
How He Came To USF: So how does a high school player from a smallish town 25 miles outside Atlanta end up walking on to a college team in Tampa? Last summer we ran an entire story about Pippens and how he became a preferred walk-on at USF, complete with an interview of his coach at McDonough (GA) Ola High School, Jared Zito. Long story short, Tyler was on pace to probably earn an FCS scholarship until he tore his MCL late in his senior year. When no offers materialized and knowing Pippens had already qualified at USF academically, Zito sent Pippens’ highlight reel to his one-time boss, former USF special teams coach Stu Holt. One thing led to another, and eventually Willie Taggart offered Pippens a spot as a preferred walk-on last fall.
Check out Tyler’s speed in his high school highlight reel. Spoiler: there’s a hook-and-ladder touchdown.
Recruiting Rankings: Even before his injury, Pippens didn’t get any rankings from the recruiting services. Go figure.
Projected Playing Time: USF is all stocked up on running backs and receivers, making it unlikely we’ll see Pippens on offense this year. However, if Taggart decides Rodney Adams and D’Ernest Johnson are too valuable to the offense to keeping putting them both out there as kick returners, Pippens may get his chance.
Follow Him On... We think Tyler’s Twitter handle is @Typippens5, but he hasn’t posted any tweets there. His Instagram is a lot more active, and he has a great username: pippnosis.
Trivia: This is a hard one. Three former USF quarterbacks have worn #17, but all of them also wore other numbers. Can you name them and their other numbers?