|Facebook Photo. Highlands senior wide receiver TJ Sipple will take his talents to Mount Saint Joseph in the fall.|
The Highlands wide receiver recently committed to playing for the NCAA Division III Mount Saint Joseph Lions of the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference. Sipple will major in Sports Management.
"They made me feel like I was at Highlands," Sipple said. "It was very energizing and on pace with everything."
Sipple helped the Highlands Bluebirds go 8-6 last fall in Class 5A. Highlands won district and region championships before losing 41-31 to eventual state runner-up Pulaski County in the state semifinals. Sipple finished second on the team with 24 catches for 315 yards and a touchdown catch against Ryle. His longest reception of the season was 41 yards.
"TJ is a great football player that will flourish at Mount Saint Joseph," said Brian Weinrich, Highlands Head Coach. "The small school atmosphere, the coaches and the offensive system will help TJ not only on the field, but off the field. He was one of our hardest, most selfless workers last year. That work ethic will serve him well as he continues his academic/football career. We are looking forward to seeing TJ become a successful member of the Mount Saint Joseph community."
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Like Highlands, Mount St. Joe also runs a Spread offense. Sipple stands at 6-feet even and 165 pounds. He hopes to get better at handling press coverage.
The Lions had a nice 7-3 season last year that included a 6-2 mark in conference play. Mount St. Joe lost to Indiana foes Manchester University (44-31) and Franklin College (52-13) in conference play and Augustana (Illinois) in non-conference action.
Rod Huber has been the Head Coach of the Lions since 2000. The Lions have gone 99-63 in those 16 seasons. Assistant coaches on the staff include three former head coaches in Northern Kentucky in Rick Thompson (Boone County), Dave Wirth (Covington Catholic) and Troy Styer (Campbell County).
Sipple will join former Highlands teammate John Abner. Abner plays on the Lion defensive line.
Sipple knows he will have to balance his academic, athletic and social lives at Mount St. Joe. But he said that should not be an issue.
"They're very good about making sure you get your work done, get to classes and be able to get to football practice on time," Sipple said. "I feel like I'll be able to do that alright."
Sipple became the sixth player from this year's Highlands class to commit to playing at the next level. Quarterback Austin Hergott signed with Central Michigan in early February while Austin Beal, Bo Hebel and Jared Dougherty will attend Lindsey Wilson. Defensive tackle Tyler Robinson will walk on at Louisville.