Pitt wide receiver Tre Tipton was granted a medical hardship waiver by the NCAA after missing the majority of the 2020 season with a knee injury that required season-ending surgery. As a result, he attained a sixth year of eligibility and was at Pitt’s first practice of the year in Pittsburgh’s South Side on Monday.
"Just from a leadership standpoint in the receivers room, [it's going to be good to have Tipton back]," Pitt quarterback Kenny Pickett said in an interview after practice on Monday. "He's a really smart kid. He knows what he's doing. He's been around a while. Every throw in session, he was out there helping guys. And he can't run routes, but he was out there spot-catching and helping teach guys. So he's going to be huge moving forward."
The move comes after a season in which Tipton played just three games before being sidelined by an injury that he suffered during practice. During those three games, he amassed 81 yards and one touchdown on seven receptions. The knee injury was Tipton’s fourth injury in five seasons at Pitt.
The native of Apollo, Pennsylvania, received a medical redshirt as a freshman as a result of an injury four games into the 2015 season. As a sophomore, he suffered a season-ending injury during Pitt’s 51-28 loss at Miami on Nov. 5, 2016. After recovering from that injury, he was injured again prior to the start of training camp in 2017 in a bicycle accident. And his most recent injury came last September, just ahead of Pitt’s matchup with UCF.
Tipton is now the longest-tenured member of Pitt’s receiving corps, and in 2020, he will line up alongside Taysir Mack, Shocky Jacques-Louis and Jared Wayne as one of Pickett’s primary options. Former Pitt receivers Maurice Ffrench and Aaron Matthews — both of whom came to Pitt a year after Tipton in 2016 — have exhausted their eligibility and moved on.