Five months later he was in a crimson uniform. And this past Saturday he made another trip to Albi, this time turning heads because he fired the football with both zip and poise.
Yes, Luke Falk and Tyler Hilinksi combined for more than 400 air yards in the annual Lilac City showdown to dominate the post-game quarterback talk, but Tinsley -- a rising third-year sophomore -- absolutely impressed.
He completed 3 of his first 4 passes and 11 of 17 overall for 139 yards. Along the way he fired two TD passes -- a gorgeous, 37-yard strike down the middle to Robert Lewis and a 2-yarder to Easop Winston.
His passes had velocity, he was confident under pressure and, at 6-foot-3 and 201 pounds, he looked tall and strong in the pocket.
"Being a transfer and going with Luke and Tyler and Anthony Gordon -- they're all great players so every opportunity you get you've got to take advantage of. That's what I've been trying to do," he told Cougfan.com on Saturday. You can hear the entire, 67-second video interview here:
In the Cougars' three scrimmages combined this spring, he completed 21 of 32 passes for 239 yards, no interceptions and the two TDs.
For anyone who watched some of WSU's Thursday Night Football action last fall, where the youngsters take center stage, Tinsley's work Saturday in Spokane may not have been a surprise. But for the estimated 9,000 partisans in Albi, he was downright revelatory.
Tinsley prepped at El Toro High in Lake Forest, Calif., where he earned league offensive MVP honors as a senior in 2014 after throwing for 35 TDs and more than 3,800 yards. As a freshman at Fullerton College in 2015 he completed 61.3 percent of his passes for 2,182 yards, 13 TDs and 6 INTs. His dad is former USC quarterback Scott Tinsley.