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The Journey of Tip Reiman: Faith, Family, and Football



The Journey of Tip Reiman
Jan 2, 2023; Tampa, FL, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini tight end Tip Reiman (89) runs with the ball against Mississippi State Bulldogs cornerback Emmanuel Forbes (13) during the first half in the 2023 ReliaQuest Bowl at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Illinois tight end Tip Reiman was a walk-on. Now he’s a captain.

The story of Illini tight end Tip Reiman flies in the face of the saying, “Nice guys finish last.” There are few nicer, more dedicated, and more hard-working people than the South Dakota native. This story begins in South Dakota as well. Specifically, it starts in Rapid City, South Dakota, and O’gorman High School. Reiman began his high school career as an outside linebacker and EDGE rusher. Though he started to receive offers, Reiman moved to tight end to fill a hole on offense at that position.

As a result, many of those collegiate offers began to fall away. By the end of his high school career, all of the FBS offers wholly dried up, with in-state FCS schools, South Dakota and South Dakota State offering the now tight end. Reiman sent his tape to hundreds of schools with a lukewarm response. Illinois offensive coordinator Rod Smith got a hold of Reiman’s game film because his (Reiman’s) grandfather was Smith’s real estate agent.

Smith liked what he saw and offered a preferred walk-on spot. Reiman had a choice: take the scholarship from one of the in-state schools or bet on himself and go to Illinois. His decision has paid great dividends. “All I need is a foot in the door, Reiman said. That’s the thing. If I have a foot in the door, it means I can kick it down still. That’s my mentality.”

Reiman has taken full advantage of his opportunities. He got reps on special teams in 2020 and 2021. Last season, Reiman had 19 receptions in 2022 and was a devastating blocker. Reiman is on the Mackey Award watch list and a legitimate NFL prospect this year. Just get your foot in the door and knock it down.

Armchair Illini is a comprehensive site dedicated to covering University of Illinois Athletics owned and operated by Alex Kyi. Dante Pryor has been writing about College Football for years on Saturday Blitz and is now the Lead Football Author for Armchair Illini.