CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) — A big opportunity is available at tight end. Daniel barker transferred to Michigan State, he’ll make a return trip to Memorial Stadium in November.
Even with Barker gone, the Illini still have two starting caliber tight ends in Luke Ford and Tip Reiman. Tip is not only juggling football and academics, but is also married as a sophomore. The 20-year old and his wife, Maddy, both say it was meant to be.
“I would’ve never have seen myself like dating somebody for six months then being like, ‘Yep!’ and it’s really cheesy, but when you know you really do know,” Maddy Reiman said.
Tip knew right away he was interested in Maddy when he got to Illinois as a walk-on from South Dakota.
The two met at Weber Street Christian Church in Urbana during a Fellowship of Christian Athletes meeting. For the tight end, he was waiting for the first chance to talk to the Illini diver.
“She was actually dating somebody when I met her so I was just kind of like getting my foot in the door, you know, here’s me, you know, whenever you’re ready,” Tip Reiman said. “I took my shot when the door opened and it’s been history ever since.”
The two were married at the same church they met at on March 13th. Finding time to see each other is challenging with Maddy working as a diving coach at Centennial and for the Fighting Illini and Tip juggling football and school, but they make the most of their opportunities together.
“I think that’s a big thing is just making the most of the little moments you get and being present in those is a big thing for us,” Tip Reiman said.
“We didn’t want to spend any more time a part,” Maddy Reiman said. “We wanted to spend every day that we can together because you never know what day is going to be your last.”
Being the only married man on the team, head coach Bret Bielema says the former walk-on is playing with more confidence this year in a bigger role on the field.
“He comes in and talks to me all the time and is like, ‘Coach, isn’t married being great and I go absolutely, Tip.’ For him and who he is and where he’s at in that moment it helps him kind of solidify himself a little bit and he’s definitely playing really good football,” Bielema said.
Tip was a walk-on his freshman year, but earned a scholarship last fall, adding he’s so grateful that the school not only gave him this chance to play, but that coming here also led him to his wife as well.