Central Catholic’s Tre Tarpley hopes to put down roots after being drafted by USFL Maulers

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Arnold “Tre” Tarpley III considers this more of a statement than a promise, but it was one he intended to keep.

So he opened up about his plans to play professional football, making a YouTube video diary series called “Trust the Seed”.

Tarpley, a Jefferson Hills native and former Central Catholic actor, has documented his journey since before his junior season at Vanderbilt. He shared the trials and tribulations he endured — from tearing his ACL in his last college practice to being cut by the Pittsburgh Steelers — over a four-year span while continuing to pursue his dream.

That top seed took root Wednesday, when the Pittsburgh Maulers picked the 6-foot, 200-pound safety with the fifth pick in the 18th round on day two of the USFL 35-round draft.

Tarpley takes great pride in giving the team a local flavor.

“It’s interesting because I had a little time when I was with the Steelers at minicamp, and it didn’t turn into what I expected, which was God’s plan,” said Tarpley. “Having another opportunity to represent the city is a blessing. The history of sports in western Pennsylvania is so rich. Being able to be part of it is special.

Son of Dr. Arnold Tarpley Jr., podiatrist and former WPXI-TV presenter and motivational speaker Darieth Chisolm, Tre Tarpley performed on Central’s 2013 WPIAL Class 4A Champions and PIAA Finalists before becoming a four-year high school senior. at Vanderbilt.

Tarpley’s inspiration is his paternal grandmother, Agnes Marie Tarpley, who passed away in March 2011. Visiting her grave before her first year, Tarpley promised her that he would pursue his football dreams. It was then that he made the first of dozens of videos for YouTube.

“I want to get to the NFL,” Tarpley said. “It’s my promise. I wouldn’t call it a promise, but it was a statement to keep my faith.

Tarpley, who played solid safety and in nickel-and-dime defenses, was preparing for the final game of his senior season against rival Tennessee when he tore the ACL in his right knee during his final defensive practice. . After a year of recuperation, Tarpley signed to play for the Alliance of American Football’s Memphis Express in the spring of 2019. The Steelers invited him to their rookie minicamp, but Tarpley was not signed.

That didn’t stop him. Tarpley was preparing to play in the XFL but was not drafted despite participating in his combine. In 2020, he played for the Spring League Generals, recording 24 tackles, including three for losses, with three pass breakups and one interception.

“The Spring Football timing is what makes it great,” Tarpley said. “You have the opportunity to put out a good movie, be seen by NFL team scouts, and have a chance to review your movie before training camp.”

Tarpley said Washington commanders expressed interest after he clocked a 4.5-second 40-yard sprint. But the NFL imposed restrictions on the number of players who could attend rookie minicamps due to covid-19 protocols, so he missed another NFL opportunity.

Tarpley said he never lost faith in his dream or considered walking away from football, even when he started selling life insurance and annuities for Family First Life. Tarpley woke up every day at 5 a.m. to train before work, thinking he would eventually get another chance.

Tarpley had an idea the Maulers were interested because defensive coordinator Jarren Horton, a defensive analyst at Vanderbilt in 2015 and 17, said a good word. It paid off when Tarpley got the call Wednesday morning from Maulers coach Kirby Wilson, a former running backs coach for the Steelers. Although Tarpley is still a long way from the NFL, he thinks he’s close to delivering on his promise.

“I live by this mantra with everything I do: If God has something in store for you, it’s going to happen,” Tarpley said.

Kevin Gorman is an editor at Tribune-Review. You can contact Kevin by email at kgorman@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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