One of the top WPIAL players at Apollo-Ridge? Yes, it is unusual, but Tipton is a talented, well-rounded athlete who has a future in Division I college football. He is one of the most heralded athletes to come out of Apollo-Ridge. He caught 44 passes for 697 yards in 2013, averaged 14.7 points in basketball and finished second in WPIAL Class AA in the long jump with a leap of 21 feet, 10¼ inches. He is a well-spoken teenager who has a 4.1 grade-point average.
Tipton already has accepted a scholarship to Pitt, making a verbal commitment to the Panthers in mid-June. He also had scholarship offers from, Michigan State, Akron, Toledo and a few other Division I schools. He most likely will play receiver at Pitt, but could be tried at another position.
Any significance with the name Tre? Well, everyone calls me Tre, but my real name is actually Charles Fitzgerald Tipton III. A lot of people don’t know that and I actually would like the Post-Gazette to call me that, to honor my father, who is Charles Fitzgerald II.
Well then, do you want to be known as Charles in the media from here on out? No, still call me Tre with everything, but I’m giving the Post-Gazette the chance to be the first to call me Charles Fitzgerald Tipton.
OK Charles, do you have any idea who the previous Apollo-Ridge player was to go to a Division I college? Ha. I heard it was like 1965. I’ve heard all kinds of years. I don’t know, but I’m glad to be blessed with the opportunity to play a Division I sport, coming from a small town.
Weren’t you going to leave Apollo-Ridge at one time? A few times I’ve debated it. But basically it came down to what my mom [Kim] and myself felt was the best for me. There was a chance I would go to a Catholic school or an academy, but my mom told me the place where you start is the place where you should finish, because the place where you start is where they have the most faith in you.
Do you think you’ve proven you can get college attention at a small school that might not have been real successful? All I ever wanted to do is make a difference. I realize I go to a small school and people think Apollo is in the middle of nowhere. People said I wouldn’t have the opportunity to play at a big-time college. But I worked hard, put myself in speed training, went to camps, did whatever it took. I want to show kids … in elementary school that it is possible to make it from a small school.
Will we see you be used on the team in any different ways this year? I can’t really give anything away. All I can say is it’s going to be an exciting year with our offense.
Is football truly your favorite sport? [Laugh] That is one of the toughest questions I’ve been asked in all my years I’ve been in high school. I grew up on basketball. Then when I was 11 or 12 I really liked football. I honestly couldn’t say what my favorite is. I like all sports. But one thing is that sports aren’t all I do. Honestly, I’m a nerd. That’s the best way to put it [laugh]. I like action figures, superheroes. I’m into computers and laptops. A lot of people don’t know that about me. My favorite superhero is The Punisher.
Are you glad LeBron James came back to Cleveland? I’m glad you asked me that. I’m not a big LeBron fan, but I’m glad he went back. Any kid should come back to his hometown at some time. I do look up to him because he gets criticized a lot for a lot of things. Growing up, I was criticized and people would say I’m not going to make it because I’m from a small-town school. Seeing people like LeBron and what he did is good motivation for me. Him going back to his hometown makes me glad I have been faithful to where I grew up.