The accounts of college athletes assuming dual duty at wide receiver and cornerback are voluminous. However, there are few that have enjoyed the success that Michigan State wide receiver Tony Lippet has had at both spots. Will Blackmon, Chris Gamble, Sam Shields and Richard Sherman all played wide receiver at one point in their collegiate careers, but none
of them ever had any more than 700 yards in a given season.
In his final season at Michigan State, Lippett gained 1,198 yards and 11 touchdowns on just 65 receptions. With that said he might very well be a victim of his own versatility. Lippett who was voted team MVP and Big Ten wide receiver of the year started at cornerback in a victory against Rutgers. He also played exceptionally well at cornerback against Penn State and Baylor.
Lippett shares transferable skills that the aforementioned converted wide receivers possess, and that’s the ability to locate and make a play on the football. Long-levered cornerbacks with exceptional ball skills and athleticism are in vogue and highly coveted. Every NFL team is trying to find the unicorn that is Richard Sherman. At six-foot-two, 192 pounds, Lippett’s combination of size, skill and athleticism fit the bill. Lippet’s stellar play at cornerback is tempting and will eventually prompt many teams to ask him to make the switch to cornerback.
While many have hinted that Lippett’s NFL future is at the cornerback position, he is currently enjoying his time playing wide receiver. Lippett relishes the opportunity to get his hands on the football and make plays, which is totally understandable. Coming off of a season in which he dominated Big Ten cornerbacks, he should at least be awarded an opportunity to prove he can be a productive wide receiver in the NFL. Lippett’s production in his final year at Michigan State doesn’t happen by accident. He’s clearly a skilled player.
At the wide receiver position, Lippett excels making contested catches; he’s also capable of making defenders miss after the catch with his ability to string moves together. He has spent considerably more time at the wide receiver position and hasn’t proven much as a tackler on defense; but yet teams are still discussing a position change due to his size and ball skills.
Before asking Lippett to make the move to cornerback, NFL scouts should take a really close look at his skill set as a wide receiver. It would only make sense to allow him to play himself out of the position he’s been playing the longest before converting him. If given the opportunity to play wide receiver, he could very well be helping your favorite team move the chains next season.
In the video below, Lippett discusses expectations for the offseason circuit and beyond.
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