A native of Apple Valley, Minnesota, Pipkins starred on the offensive line for Apple Valley High School. As a junior, he helped lead his team to a 8-3 record and the school’s first appearance in the state playoffs in over 19 years. As a senior, he blocked for a quarterback that set school records in single-season passing yards and passing touchdowns.
Pipkins stayed fairly close to home by committing to play at the University of Sioux Falls where he was a three-year starter for the Cougars. After redshirting in 2014, Pipkins saw time in 10 games while playing mainly on special teams and sparingly on the line. In those limited snaps, he managed to allow zero sacks.
As a first time starter in 2016, he got the nod for all 10 games the team played and earned his first All-NSIC honor with the second team. He repeated the postseason accolade after starting 12 games the following year, as well. In 2018, Pipkins put the cherry on top of his lengthy college career by earning not only a First-Team All-NSIC selection, but he was also voted to the AP’s Division II All-American First Team. This was the season that helped him catch the eye of NFL scouts and it earned him an invite to the East-West Shrine Game to play against some of the best talent in the country.
In March of 2019, Pipkins also became the first player from Sioux Falls to be invited to the NFL Scouting Combine and he certainly did not disappoint. At 309 pounds, he ran a 5.12 forty-yard dash and jumped 33.5 inches in the vertical which was a top mark among all offensive linemen at the event.
Following Pipkins’ selection with the 91st pick, the Chargers had no intentions of having him see the field as a rookie. However, thanks to a string of injuries, Pipkins was called upon to start three games, including the final two of the season.
During his sophomore campaign, Pipkins lost the training camp battle to Sam Tevi for the starting left tackle spot. However, with nagging injuries to right tackle Bryan Bulaga, Pipkins ended up starting five games last year, mainly at right tackle.
During the 2021 season, Pipkins lost the starting right tackle job to Storm Norton in training camp. Norton started the majority of games but Pipkins still recorded a pair of starts due to injuries to the former.
In 2022, Pipkins finally broke through to win the starting job which he held for 14 games during the regular season. A nagging MCL injury kept him out of three contests, but overall Pipkins had his best season as a pro. Following the season, the Chargers signed him to a three-year contract to keep him as the team’s starting right tackle for the foreseeable future.
Zion Johnson, Trey Pipkins, and Donald Parham parted the red sea at the goal line pic.twitter.com/9mcorO9Jkn— Steven Haglund (@StevenIHaglund) December 20, 2022
College: Sioux Falls
Years with team: 4
“Trey Pipkins signed a 3 year, $21,750,000 contract with the Los Angeles Chargers, including a $7,500,000 signing bonus, $13,250,000 guaranteed, and an average annual salary of $7,250,000. In 2023, Pipkins will earn a base salary of $1,250,000 and a signing bonus of $7,500,000, while carrying a cap hit of $3,750,000 and a dead cap value of $13,250,000.” - Spotrac.com
The amount of progress Pipkins showed during the 2022 season cannot be understated. He looked like a completely different player on the field compared to years past and it’s why the team didn’t waste a lot of time signing him to future years in LA.
Equally as both a pass protector and run blocker, Pipkins looked much more comfortable. His pass sets looked nuanced and under control. His steps in the run game were decisive and impactful. He knew his markers and got to those places without looking to be in a hurry. Overall, Pipkins officially looks like he belongs as a starter at the NFL level.
ty trey pipkins for making this all possible pic.twitter.com/p8Yl8fTfgA— Los Angeles Chargers (@chargers) March 16, 2023
The unfortunate part of Pipkins’ 2022 season is that despite the improvement, injuries kept him from competing in several games. It could have been a lot worse, but the missed time is only accentuated more by the fact that any missed time by either tackle means the Chargers would be forced to replace them with a player of a much lower talent level.
Odds of making the roster/What to expect in 2023?
Pipkins will make the team as the Chargers’ starting right tackle after he was signed to a new three-year contract this offseason that rewarded him for his notably-improved level of play in 2022. After another offseason of training with Rashawn Slater in Dallas under offensive line guru Duke Manyweather, the best could be yet to come for the former third-round pick.