Where Did T.J. Tampa Go to School? Exploring Prospect’s Football Journey

Iowa State CB T.J. Tampa has one of the highest ceilings in the 2024 NFL Draft. Here is everything to know about his career.

Iowa State cornerback T.J. Tampa is one of the best at his position in the 2024 NFL Draft. Here is everything to know about Tampa’s career leading up to the draft.

Where Did T.J. Tampa’s Football Career Start?

Tampa was born March 13, 2002, and is 22 years old. He was born in Norristown, Pa., and moved to Jonesboro, Ga., at the age of three. At 15, he moved to St. Petersburg, Fla., and attended Lakewood High School.

In his high school career, Tampa played on both offense and defense. On offense, he caught 67 passes for 1,323 yards and 15 touchdowns.

On defense, he tallied 33 tackles, with nine being for a loss, four sacks, two pass deflections, an interception, a fumble recovery, and two forced fumbles.

A three-star recruit, Tampa decided to commit to play college football at Iowa State over schools such as Georgia, Maryland, Rutgers, Toledo, UCF, and South Florida.

Revisiting Tampa’s College Career

During his freshman year in 2020, Tampa played in nine games on special teams and as a reserve in the secondary. He tallied five tackles, had two tackles against Texas Tech, and posted a TFL against Kansas.

In his sophomore year, Tampa played in 13 games, starting five. He registered 18 tackles and three pass breakups.

In his junior year, Tampa started all 12 games. He put up 40 tackles, including five tackles for a loss, and had one interception and a team-best nine pass breakups. He also forced a fumble at the goal line against Iowa that was recovered by Kendell Jackson at the 1-yard line, and had a career-high eight tackles against Baylor.

MORE: Top Cornerbacks in the 2024 NFL Draft

As a senior, Tampa was one of the best cornerbacks in the nation. He played and started all 12 games during the regular season.

In his final year, Tampa had 44 tackles, including three for a loss, made two interceptions, and finished with seven pass breakups. He allowed just one touchdown in his last 497 coverage snaps, matched his career high with eight tackles at Oklahoma, and had four tackles and a win-clincher against Oklahoma State with an interception with less than two minutes left.

Tampa’s Potential In the NFL

Pro Football Network Draft Analyst Ian Cummings said Tampa grades out as a top-50 prospect of the 2024 NFL Draft and a fringe top-five CB candidate.

“He has an absurd playmaking radius with his combined length and recovery speed, and his attack explosiveness is in a tier of its own,” Cummings said in Tampa’s scouting report.

“Beyond his length and vertical explosiveness, Tampa also has good size-adjusted fluidity, exceptional short-area energy and throttle control, and the corrective twitch to adjust his alignment and recover positioning quickly on routes. At the catch point, his past as a former receiver amounts to superb ball skills.”

KEEP READING: Ian Cummings’ Full Scouting Report of T.J. Tampa

Cummings said some of Tampa’s strengths include being a high-IQ defender who can quickly recognize screens and quick outs and trigger downhill and possessing smooth fluidity and swivel freedom for his size, allowing for easy recalibration.

Highlights, Records, and More

Tampa was named Second-Team All-Big 12 in his junior year. As a senior, he earned first-team All-Big 12 honors and was named Associated Press third-team All-American, becoming the first Cyclone defensive back to earn All-America honors since Brian Peavy.

In 2023, he was also an Honorable Mention All-Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, a Thorpe Award semifinalist, and a Bednarik Award semifinalist.

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