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Times reporter Bob Condotta keeps the news coming about the Montlake Dawgs.

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February 2, 2008 9:21 AM

An intriguing walk-on for UW?

Posted by Bob Condotta

I wrote a little story for today's paper about Tripper Johnson, a Newport High grad who has played minor league baseball the last eight years but now is thinking about walking-on to play football at UW.

Here's a link to the story in the paper.

As often happens, the story was cut for space reasons, so here's some info that didn't make it in the final cut:

Johnson said that after last season, when his contract ran out, he began to explore other options.

He said he learned then he has four years of college football eligibility and decided to see what his options would be. He's also talked with coaches at Washington State, University of San Diego and Penn State (where his dad went to school) but said he has his heart set on UW.

He said he hasn't completely closed the door on baseball but that he's excited about the opportunity of football having spent the last few months training.

"I loved baseball, but I think football was my first love,'' he said. "There's just something about it. My intention right now is to go play football for four years."

Johnson was a first team All-Kingco pick as a defensive back and second team as a running back in 1999 as a senior at Newport. He was The Seattle Times Male Athlete of the Year for the Eastside after being named All-Kingco in football, basketball and baseball.

Finally, here's a link to Johnson's baseball stats.

NOTE --- Sorry for the continued garble on quote marks. We're having some problems with this. I've fixed it for now in this post, I think.

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Posted by 6'7 - 270lbs

9:46 AM, Feb 02, 2008

Posted by TurbineSeaplane

9:52 AM, Feb 02, 2008


Posted by jh

9:52 AM, Feb 02, 2008

...and his children - grandchildren? - can help fill the stadium...

Posted by Tarn

10:12 AM, Feb 02, 2008

Mature leader...a great addition.

Posted by godawgs

10:28 AM, Feb 02, 2008

I think that is a good thing. More than likely he is in some what of shape and he wants to prove something due to the fact that he was forgotten about. Even if alls he is, is a special teamer to have a 200 pounder that wants to prove a point will only help. I for one think the more you have to pick out of the better. Plus he is a walk on not counting against any thing other than total team number. Also about you ducks thinking all of a sudden the dawgs are looking up to you get a clue it took a Washington running back to give Dixon a chance to do what he did and the spread that you rely on so much is about to be defended by a defense that has a leader that will flash on you. There will be no more of this crap that has been letting you walk down the field. Also you have to remember that tebo didn’t get as much in game time in as jake did as a freshman and I have to tell you with a good tightened coming in wait we have two so we will be able to throw out of a two tightened set that is normally a power run formation and to give the “seattle times” a reference the last time we had a productive QB with a solid tightened we won a rose bowl and that is us next year

Posted by jh

10:35 AM, Feb 02, 2008


Posted by BoiseTruth

10:45 AM, Feb 02, 2008

Tripper Johnson was also Associated Press first team all-state (3A) as both a kick, and punt returner.
Here's a good highlight reel.

Posted by Newport

10:47 AM, Feb 02, 2008

I went to middle and high school with Tripper, and let me tell you all, this is a VERY good thing. It's not like he's 40 years old. He's 25! He's in top notch shape (you know, having been a professional athlete for the past 8 years), and he is a physical specimen. He was always an outstanding athlete and football may have been his best sport.

If he walks on, he will open up a lot of eyes, and honestly I wouldn't be surprised if he saw the field in the fall. Wouldn't you rather have a 25 year old patroling the safety zone than an 18 year old?

Posted by 206er

10:49 AM, Feb 02, 2008

sounds like kind of a cool story. i agree that he could be a good leader and a feel-good story that could inspire the team. we could always use some extra help on defense as well. and i always like to hear that a guy has "his heart set" on being a husky. hopefully it works out for him

Posted by fish93

11:02 AM, Feb 02, 2008

If he plays anything like his highlight video I think we might have ourselves a dimond in the rough. If he has gotten bigger i could see him playing LB

Posted by RedDawg

11:06 AM, Feb 02, 2008

Wow Boise, you can see what an athlete he is! Thanks for the video. ( the music could have been better though :) I agree with you Newport in that this is a physically and hopefully mentally mature young man who could have an impact with the Dawgs. He can hit, catch the ball with his hands, and follow his blockers really well. Hope it works out for Tripper. Go Dawgs!

Posted by jh

11:11 AM, Feb 02, 2008

...what year was that video?...

Posted by krazykarl

11:18 AM, Feb 02, 2008

You can't assume he is in "top notch shape." Prince Fielder and CC Sabathia are also in top notch shape by this logic.

Posted by TH

11:29 AM, Feb 02, 2008

jh, that was SR year video. If you look at the 5min mark of the tape there are two plays against Issaquah (dark uni's), one catch and one kick return. Those were his only two snaps in that entire game because he was playing with a punctured lung from the Skyline footage. He also was the punter/kicker for that team.

Posted by BoiseTruth

11:31 AM, Feb 02, 2008

I agree RedDawg, the video is much better with the sound off. The guys still in school might like it though. I really liked the toughness, and versatility that Tripper showed. It going to be fun to see how he does.

Posted by AZ Dawg

11:32 AM, Feb 02, 2008

I know what you mean by Prince and CC but they have natural ability that has allowed that to make the show. I would think that Tripper has gotten into as good as shape as he can in an 8 year effort to make it. Whether that training translates well to football may be a good question, though.

Posted by Rondo Shondo

11:35 AM, Feb 02, 2008

It's kind of exciting really, the idea of a 25 year old back there looking to lay some wood on a spindly 20 year old crossing the middle. Very cool.

It's this kind of investigative reporting we like. And for a blog? Thanks Bob. The poor saps who claimed to have jumped ship and gone to the PI blog still have the Donatelli transcripts as the lead.

Posted by TH

11:39 AM, Feb 02, 2008

If nothing else he'll for sure see time on Special Teams

Posted by jh

11:40 AM, Feb 02, 2008

...yea...but what chronological year was it?...

Posted by MMH

11:42 AM, Feb 02, 2008

Looks like a great prospect in the Safety/olb mold with some playmaking skills. From the video he looks like a faster version of Greg Carothers.

Nice to get some good relevant information for a change.

Posted by BoiseTruth

11:53 AM, Feb 02, 2008

Rondo, I'd appreciate it if you wouldn't insult the guys that went to the PI. They are all good guys that brought a lot to this blog, and I would welcome them back whenever/if they decide to return. Thanks.

Posted by TH

11:55 AM, Feb 02, 2008

jh, fall of 1999.

Posted by jh

11:56 AM, Feb 02, 2008

...I'm guessing that video was made in '99 I was in shape...

Posted by TH

11:59 AM, Feb 02, 2008

JH, you been playing for sports for a living the last 8 years?....BTW I hope I'm not talking trash with my pops.

Posted by jh

12:01 PM, Feb 02, 2008 you mean sports...or baseball...

Posted by TH

12:09 PM, Feb 02, 2008

jh - lol....touche.

Posted by ted

12:22 PM, Feb 02, 2008

worth mentioning that Tripper signed a letter or intent to play baseball at UW before signing with the Orioles ... not that the letter of intent still means anything ... just pointing out that if he had gone to college out of high school, it would have been at Washington.

Of course, he can't play baseball at UW now, having played professionally, and he can't be on scholarship. But in all likelihood, his original contract with the Orioles included a clause by which the Orioles would pay for college. Most upper-end draftees have that in their initial contract. He was a "sandwich" pick, which is basically first-round.

Here's a link:

Posted by Dawg in the Couv

12:36 PM, Feb 02, 2008

Didn't Chris Wenke play pro baseball before going to Free Shoes U to play QB - and I'd be surprised if he wasn't on scholarship. If this kid wants to be a Husky and has something to prove, those are the types of kids we want...especially on our D!

Posted by Ted

12:38 PM, Feb 02, 2008

Yes, Weinke played pro baseball before playing football at Florida State.

And, no, he wasn't on scholarship at FSU ... though I wouldn't be surprised if his baseball team didn't pay his tuition.

Posted by Lawdawg

12:52 PM, Feb 02, 2008

Hmmm, doesn't seem like he's super fast but he looks like hes got good hands and size!

It will be interesting to see how physically ready he is (how much bigger would he get going for a football build rather than baseball).

Also, no matter what kind of shape he is in, it will probably take him quite a while to get used to playing football again after 8 years, not to mention the change in speed from 20th century HS football to pac-10 2008!

Posted by jh

1:45 PM, Feb 02, 2008

...I'd keep this baseball player switching to football quiet, boys...or the next thing you'll see is willingham hanging out at the cactus league...he's spending time at a lot of golf courses lately...seems that he was recruiting John Daly or his defensive line...until he found out about Daly's 12 marriages and 16 DUIs...

Posted by Matt in Bothell

2:23 PM, Feb 02, 2008

Someone help me out here. This story reminds me of a guy that was a special teams terror for us around the mid 80's. I believe his name was Jay something.
Like Tripper Johnson, he played minor league baseball for several years and came to UW in his mid 20's. I believe he was later killed in a car crash.
Anyway, Johnson sounds like a guy that can help this team. I hope somebody can help me out with my memory lapse.

Posted by old dawg

2:28 PM, Feb 02, 2008

while they're at it, they might as well start culling the discharge paper lists of Navy Seals...that would put the expression "aggresive defense" in a whole 'nother light...

I'd draw the line at players that get recruitment letters from AARP.

Posted by Bob Condotta

2:50 PM, Feb 02, 2008

The player who was a walk-on in the mid-80s after having been a baseball player was Jay Roberts.

Posted by Ted

2:50 PM, Feb 02, 2008

It was Jay Roberts ... Jason Shelley also played minor league ball before (maybe during) his UW football career, brief that it was.

Posted by PhinneyDawg

2:52 PM, Feb 02, 2008

MattinBothell, you're talking about Jay Roberts, a friend of my brother (who was an all state RB in WA) in high school. He was from Centralia High School, and an absolute specimen of an athlete. 6'7", 280, 4.4 40. Won state and football championships as a senior, and nearly won the state track championship the same year (too much partying the night before the state meet because he was just signed by the Braves). Came to UW later like this guy, but didn't have the focus to make a big impact on offense or defense, but was great on special teams. And yes, died in a auto accident about 8 years ago.

Back to the point at hand...I graduated the same year as Tripper, had a chance to watch him once and this guy had deceptive speed. The only tackles I saw on this guy were head on, he was never caught from behind. Also, his defensive instincts were great. He had a nose for the football in the air, and always seemed to be teeing off on a guy right as he caught it. All the stuff you see in the video.

The only question is his conditioning and speed at this point (I'm 8 years out of HS, and probably faster/in better shape than I was in 2000, so this guy is probably no different as a pro athlete). Excited to see this guy on the field. Bob, any idea if he'll be here for Spring Ball??

Posted by Basball isn't a sport?

2:57 PM, Feb 02, 2008

While there are the occasional John Kruk's of the world in professional baseball, most position players are in unbelievable shape.

As a former DIV I baseball player I take offense to your premise, jh.

But I'm sure you know more than me.

Posted by MarysvilleMark

3:14 PM, Feb 02, 2008

At what age to NFL players peek in performance and money. Isn't age 25 the peek. It's pretty common to see pro players in back up rolls until they hit about 25. Donetel has probilbly been working with guys his age.

I don't see any problem with his condition or age. It looks like the Huskies will have an experianced player at the peek of his career. Frankly I don't see any down side to this.

Posted by jh

3:22 PM, Feb 02, 2008

...Basball...has been velly, velly good to me,,,signed Jose Canseco, Andy Pettite, etc., etc., etc.

Posted by Lawdawg

3:23 PM, Feb 02, 2008

"6'7", 280, 4.4 40" - (Raises eyebrow)

Posted by 61 Husky

3:59 PM, Feb 02, 2008


I surrender to all the Ducks, Cougs, Irish and all othe non-Husky fans who have taken over the comments. I enjoy your writing and will continue to read that, but will skip the comments for a while as I don't need to waste my time being aggravated by those who have little, but smart ass comments, insults or the same old things to contribute.

It will also be nice not to have to decipher the captcha anymore as well.

Posted by Matt in Bothell

5:11 PM, Feb 02, 2008

Bob, Ted, and Phinney Dawg, thanks.

Posted by Baseball is not a sport?

6:10 PM, Feb 02, 2008

Andy Pettite is not a position player, the last time I checked.

And the argument is not about steroids. Jose Canseco's right ring finger is in better shape than you.

Pick an argument. Or just continue to change it to suit your comments.

Posted by Jawood

6:11 PM, Feb 02, 2008

PhinneyDawg: Jay Roberts was about 6-5 250, not 6-7 280. You have everything else accurate, he was a GREAT athlete!

Posted by Dave

1:44 AM, Feb 03, 2008

Tripper Johnson was (obviously) an outstanding athlete in high school, but to expect anything more than kick coverage teams from a DB from Newport who's been out of the game for 8 years just seems like an awfully long shot to me. If he's really willing to put in the work, though, who knows.

Posted by jh

7:42 AM, Feb 03, 2008

...someone who cares about baseball...what will they think of next?...someone who cares about what kind of shape I'm in?...

Posted by art

11:18 AM, Feb 03, 2008

Come on people, how old are the pros. 40? prime
a about 25, and he can get in shape in about a
month at that age. If he's got it, he'll make it
and didn't take ujpa scholarship.

Posted by CougBall 07

9:08 AM, Apr 02, 2008

Tripper is a very close friend of mine and let me tell you he is in great shape. He will be nothing but an asset to this struggling husky program. I could see him gaining 10 pounds and playing outside linebacker. 6'1'', 230 with his speed and vision... Watch out!

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