When most in his position wouldn’t, Joe Tippmann looked after a freshman football team manager who encountered difficulty fitting into a new school.
He helped another struggling group of managers load up camera equipment after a game last season, hauling it across the wet, muddy field to the team bus.
He lends a hand to opposing players after the whistle — so much so it moved a teacher at a rival high school to write a letter to Bishop Dwenger High coach Jason Garrett complimenting Tippmann’s sportsmanship.
He’s someone Garrett trusted to address his teammates without coaches present when trailing at halftime in a playoff game — a pivotal moment in a season that ended with a state championship.
“He’s one of the greatest team players that I’ve ever been around,” Garrett said.
The stories of Tippmann’s character and leadership could go on and on. Those aforementioned tales spanned just a few months last fall.
They typically don’t mention, however, that he’s also talented enough to garner one of the highest rankings among those in the University of Wisconsin’s 2019 recruiting class.
A four-star offensive lineman, Tippmann will move to Madison this summer as another potential future star at the position. He stands 6-foot-6, already weighs more than 300 pounds and possesses the athleticism to fit in at the Division I level right away.
“When he started for us as a sophomore, I knew he was going to be a really good player,” said Bishop Dwenger offensive line coach Jason Fabini, who played 11 years in the NFL. “You could just tell.
“He moves well. He’s fast. He’s fluid. Even for a sophomore — sometimes those kids are still growing into their bodies and are maybe a little uncoordinated or they’re in-between, but we never really saw that from Joe.”
Tippmann wasn’t convinced quite as quickly as Fabini.
The summer before his junior year, Tippmann attended his first recruiting camp at UW. He said he tested “substantially higher” than others at his position. He could sense coaches looking at him more closely, and many approached him to compliment his performance. At the end of the day, they asked him to return for a visit.
“As soon as I got there, I could tell that they were interested in me,” Tippmann said. “That’s pretty much when I realized, ‘Woah, maybe I have a chance at this.’”
UW offered Tippmann during a visit in November of that year and he committed five weeks later.
His pledge came less than a month after the Badgers added 2019 five-star offensive lineman Logan Brown, one of the highest-rated recruits in school history. The Badgers also have four linemen committed for 2020 and plenty of young talent already on the roster.
Tippmann’s likely capable of competing with anyone, though, and he’s certainly up for the challenge.
“People would ask me, ‘Hey, are you sure you want to commit there with Logan? He’s a five star,’” Tippmann said. “And I was like, ‘No, I’m excited for that. … That type of stuff excites me. I love to compete.
“Even on some of my other visits, they would tell me, ’Oh, (UW’s) a great offensive line school.’ And I’m like, oh, wow, if the other colleges I was visiting were going to tell me that, then I knew it was something special. … They’re just an offensive line university. As an offensive lineman, that really appealed to me.”