While his snaps were limited because the East fell behind 28-0 and operated mainly out of a spread offense, Tripp finished with two special teams tackles and enjoyed the experience.
"I had fun up here getting to play with some great players," said Tripp. "We didn't win the game, but it was a lot of fun. I had a blast."
Tripp had a stellar career for Ayden-Grifton High School, a small 1A program located in tiny Ayden. A three-year starter at fullback and linebacker, he rushed for 1,324 yards, 24 touchdowns and 10 2-point conversions during his senior season. Defensively, he tallied 146 tackles, four fumble recoveries, four sacks and two interceptions while earning first-team AP All-State honors at linebacker. A two-time Kinston Free Press Player of the Year, Tripp certainly has the respect of his head coach, Paul Cornwell.
"[Tripp is] a warrior," Cornwell told The Daily Reflector prior to the 2005 season. "He may be one of the best football players I've ever coached. It's not that he just wows you with numbers. It's his work ethic. He's a leader. If you had 20 of those kids, you'd feel like you could make a run every year."
The 6-foot-1, 225-pound playmaker was nearly finished with football after the East-West All-Star Game. Because he did not generate any Division I offers, Tripp planned on not playing football in college. However, NC State gave him a shot to come in as an invited walk-on with the opportunity to earn a scholarship down the road, and he jumped all over it.
"I originally planned on not playing college football anywhere," he said following the game. "State gave me an opportunity, and I'm going to take advantage of it. Hopefully it will be good for me.
"I didn't learn about it until two weeks ago. I thought I was going to go somewhere else and that didn't go through, but I'm going to take advantage of this chance I have."
Tripp was recruited to play on the offensive side of the ball at NC State, as his versatility could help in a variety of areas.
"The coaches said I'll play fullback or H-back... kind of a wing or a tight end position," Tripp stated. "I'll play wherever they want me to play."
What does he like about NC State?
"I liked the football program, and I like the level of competition at State," said Tripp. "You get to play in the ACC, and it will be a nice experience. I took a recruiting trip, and I decided to go there."
Because he missed the second summer session at NC State, Tripp will enroll and report to Raleigh for the first official practice in August.
"I think I go up to NC State August 2nd or 3rd... whenever they start fall camp," he said. "I'm really excited about it."