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Friday, February 23, 2018

Walk-On NFL Player Returns to Give Message of Resiliency

Can't see the video? Watch it here.

In his senior year at Mansfield High School, Lenzy Pipkins decided to quit basketball and start playing football—a move that would help define the rest of his life.

The football coach laughed at him, but allowed the 12th-grader to prove himself.

“I was like, ‘I can ball. Just trust me. Give me a chance. Give me a chance,” Pipkins recalled.

He was a natural at football. He got noticed for his talents and received an invitation to the Nike Combine. There, he ran a 40-yard dash in 4.4 seconds.

Arizona State University offered the athlete a football scholarship. After his first season at the school, his scholarship was taken away.

Pipkins said he hopes his story can inspire anyone who wants to quit.
“The current staff got fired, so the new staff ended up taking my scholarship away,” he said. “They didn’t think I was ready.”

Pipkins later went to the University of Louisiana Monroe to continue playing football. He graduated and played another year at Oklahoma State University.

He was set on becoming a professional football player and declared for the NFL draft. The cornerback didn’t get drafted, but 10 teams invited him afterward to come to try outs. He signed with the Green Bay Packers.

The 24-year-old told his story of resiliency to the students at The Phoenix Academy on Friday. He advised the high schoolers to follow their passion no matter what naysayers may think.

Principal Regenia Crane said Pipkin’s message fell in line with the district’s Vision 2020 strategic plan.

“Resiliency is one of our values, and he is a great example of what happens when you don’t give up,” said Crane. “That’s something our students always need to hear.”

It is reported that less than 2 percent of college athletes reach the NFL, making Pipkins story even more remarkable as a walk-on. He starts his second year in the professional league in September.