John’s Journal: Gopher Football’s Most Sizable 2023 Recruit
Kasson-Mantorville’s Reese Tripp Has Big Plans
Posted: Friday, May 20, 2022 - 11:44 AM
--This is the second of two stories about small-town, multi-sport athletes who will play football at the University of Minnesota.
Reese Tripp made his 2022 pitching debut one evening recently, taking the mound for the Kasson-Mantorville KoMets in a home game against Goodhue. Tripp was impressive, striking out two hitters, walking one and pouncing on a bunt before firing to first base to throw the runner out.
He showed good athleticism and quick feet, as well as the ability to run the bases when he singled in the third inning and hustled to second on an error.
It’s all pretty amazing for someone who stands 6-foot-7 and weighs 325 pounds. Tripp is finishing his junior year at Kasson-Mantorville, 17 miles west of Rochester. He has made a verbal commitment to play football at the University of Minnesota after he graduates in 2023. When he announced his college plans in January, he was the first in-state player from the Class of 2023 to commit to the Gophers.
Tripp’s big-time football future was not a sure thing until he worked hard and did something drastic: he lost nearly 60 pounds. That’s right, Reese weighed around 380 pounds.
But there’s no question that he’s an athlete. He has played football and baseball from a young age and played basketball through ninth grade.
“He's got a really good swing and good hands for a big guy, but he just was really slow last year as a sophomore,” said Kasson-Mantorville baseball coach Matt Franke. “He came into the offseason, dropped 60 pounds and now he can get down the line and he can move at first base.”
Tripp’s main position is first base and he sometimes is the team’s designated hitter. He throws and bats lefthanded.
The Kasson-Mantorville football team played in the Class 4A state championship game last season at U.S. Bank Stadium, losing to Hutchinson 42-14. Reese would love to close his high school football career with another long playoff run.
“Our team goal is to make it to state again,” he said. “It was an incredible experience last year. We did lose quite a few guys, but with the guys that were playing scout team all last year, I'm hoping we can all get back up there again.”
While focusing on football, Tripp is glad he has remained a multi-sport athlete.
“It helps me compete,” he said. “I used to play three sports my whole life, I minimized it to two. It's taught me to compete and it’s taught me to play every sport to its fullest potential, to the best I could do it. And it's fun.”
It’s also fun watching him move on the baseball field, and his teammates appreciate him off the field, as well.
“He’s 6-7 so to throw to him at first base is perfect for any infielder, and he can get down and scoop it, too,” Franke said. “He’s legged out a few double plays and got some RBIs by hustling down the line. Teams think he's going to be a lot slower than he is and they’re kind of surprised.
“He’s a great guy to have in the dugout, too. He gets everyone going and all the kids have grown up with him. He's kind of the guy that they rally around.”
Tripp accepted a scholarship from the Gophers the day it was offered, calling it an easy decision. The key to his rise in the recruiting world was losing all that weight.
“There was probably no way I was going to see the field because I was just too slow,” he said. “My size was there but my legs weren't keeping up with my size. So I started to lose the weight. And then once my film started getting out and they can see I have some speed and my size with it, it all came together.”
Tripp trains regularly at ETS Performance in Rochester, which is co-owned by Rochester native and former Gophers and Viking player Marcus Sherels. Before cementing his college plans, he figured the summer of 2022 would be filled with visits to college football camps as a way to draw interest. Now the pressure is off. He will have a summer job with a local heating and cooling company.
“I’ll be training every morning, like I usually do,” he said. “Now that I don’t have offers to worry about and don’t have to worry about going to camps and stuff, it saves me a lot of time. When I got offered, I was already starting to plan camps out. I was kind of stressing about that; ‘How am I going to work if I’m going to camps every week?’ I want to make my own money. And when Minnesota offered it was just a no-brainer. All the stress just kind of disappeared.”
When his senior years begins in the fall, he plans to graduate from high school early. That will enable him to enroll at the University of Minnesota in early 2023 and take part in spring football practice.
Among his biggest fans is his sister Delaney … although “biggest” is not very accurate. Delaney, who is a manager for the KoMets baseball team, stands only 5-foot-5, and she and Reese are twins.
--MSHSL media specialist John Millea has been the leading voice of Minnesota high school activities for decades. Follow him on Twitter @MSHSLjohn and listen to "Preps Today with John Millea” wherever you get podcasts. Contact John at firstname.lastname@example.org