RECRUITING: Two Lead, Two Closing Fast For Tripp

Perhaps it is because he is such an extraordinary pass rusher that makes Kiante Tripp of Atlanta (GA) Westlake such an excellent pass blocker. Tripp loves coming off the edge to get to the quarterback but he's also quite adept at picking off pass rushers when he's on the other side of the ball. His combination of speed and quickness off the ball is the reason most of the top Division I schools in the south after him, but there are two who have forged ahead of the pack.

(Kiante Tripp profile)

Although Tripp could be considered a top prospect on either side of the ball, it is at defensive end this 6-5, 250-pounder will likely find a home at the next level. That is where his top two schools are recruiting him to play.

"I like the University of Florida and UGA at the top," he said.

There is a personal bond that draws him to Florida. Former teammate Mike Brown, who played for Westlake a couple of years ago, is an offensive lineman for the Gators. Obviously Brown has put in a good word for the Gators.

"The coaches are real cool, and I have a friend, Mike Brown that goes there," Tripp said. "He is the main reason they are in the top two right now.

Coach (Stan) Drayton is recruiting me to Florida. I met him once and he is real down to earth. He is the type of coach that I could play for. They are definitely recruiting me for defensive end."

Like a lot of the top juniors in the southeast and around the country, he's got a July weekend circled for a trip to Gainesville.

"I am planning on making it down for the junior day on the 22nd and 23rd of July," he said.

While Florida is trying to make inroads with this big time prospect, Georgia has some distinct advantages. It's not far from home and he has been going to games at Sanford Stadium for awhile.

"I have been around Georgia for a long time, they are the main leader at the moment," he said. "My coach has been going down there like every year to go to the games and stuff so I am real cool with Coach (Rodney) Garner and Coach (Mark) Richt. They like that I have my grades right and they like me as a person."

Two other schools have recently made their charge to get on Tripp's hotlist. Alabama and Notre Dame are not yet top two material but they are closing fast.

"Alabama … Coach Randolph is a real cool man, I like him a lot," he said. "At Notre Dame, they have really good academics and the coaches are real cool. That is why they are in the top four."

Playing both ways means he never leaves the football field so he goes hard in the weight room and he takes extra time doing conditioning drills.

"I have a personal trainer I work out with three times a week," he said. "Dr. G from Marietta helps me with a total workout which works on agility, strength, and endurance. I am playing both ways this year. I have been doing it for three years, so I am used to it now. The only thing I have to worry about is getting tired, but with these workouts, I don't have to worry about that."

With a 1260 on the new version of the SAT and a 3.6 GPA, Kiante Tripp won't have to worry much about a qualifying to get into school at the next level. Although he says he wants to concentrate on the season ahead it probably won't be until mid-season before he announces his commitment. Although it looks like a border war between Florida and Georgia at this point, keep a close eye on Alabama and Notre Dame. Kiante Tripp is a quality player so all the schools are going to turn up the heat to try to win him over.

Fightin Gators Top Stories