Dec 17, 2013 10:08 PM by Derek Buerkle - KPAX Sports
MISSOULA - University of Montana linebacker Jordan Tripp continues to receive post-season attention at the national level. He was recently invited to participate in the 65th Annual Reese's Senior Bowl, which will by played on Jan. 25 at Ladd-Peeples Stadium in Mobile, Alabama.
The game kicks off at 1:00 p.m. (Mountain) in front of a national television audience live on the NFL Network.
Tripp is in very rare company, as he is just the second player in school history to be invited to play in the prestigious game. The only other Griz player to participate in the Senior Bowl was offensive tackle Scott Gragg, who played in 1995.
Gragg, currently Montana's co-offensive coordinator and offensive line coach, played 11 seasons in the National Football League for the New York Giants, San Francisco 49ers, and New York Jets, and started in 151 NFL games.
Virtually every NFL team will be represented at the Senior Bowl, and generally each team has several representatives, including the general manager, most head coaches, tons of scouts, and player personnel. A minimum of a few hundred NFL representative will be on hand. The players meet formally with each team for interviews during the week and are coached by NFL staffs.
"I feel extremely blessed to have this opportunity," said Tripp, who is currently living and working out in San Ramon, Calif. "With that said, I am going to be prepared 100 percent and go out there and do it, and play well. I am out here working out with Dave Spitz Dave Spitz with California Strength, a phenomenal weight-lifting coach and trainer, and I couldn't ask for anything more in terms of preparation and getting ready to go and play in the Senior Bowl. I want to thank everybody who helped to get me to this point, and I am really excited to get going."
Last week Tripp accepted an offer to play in the 88th Annual East-West Shrine Game, Saturday, Jan. 18 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida, but he has now opted to participate in the Senior Bowl.
"It's an awesome honor," said UM's defensive coordinator/linebacker coach Ty Gregorak. "Honors just keep coming in for him. I knew about the East-West Shrine Game invite, and I thought that was awesome, and then to hear about the Senior Bowl was just outstanding.
"To know that the last player, and the one and only was Scott Gragg puts it in perspective," Gregorak said. "It's been quite some time since that happened, and we've had some big-time players around here. There are some of our guys who are still playing on Sundays who haven't had that opportunity.
"It's just a real honor to have got to work with Jordan," Gregorak said. "He's an exceptional guy. As good of a football player and as good of a career that he had at Montana, he's just an exceptional guy. That's why I am so happy to see this stuff come in for him. He's done a lot for his hometown with his off-the-field stuff."
In 2013, Tripp, a 6-3 ½, 237-pound senior outside linebacker, was the Grizzlies' second-leading tackler with 100 stops, and he was tied for the team lead with three interceptions.
He has been a first team All-Big Sky Conference pick and an All-America selection the past two seasons in a row. Tripp, who served as Montana's co-captain on defense the past two seasons, was named the team's Pat Norwood Award winner (Most Inspirational Player), following his senior campaign.
He has been a finalist for the Buck Buchanan Award (the FCS Defensive Player of the Year) the past two seasons. He finished 10th in the balloting for that award in 2012 and 2013.
A rare five-time letterman, he is ranked fourth in school history with 336 career tackles. He played in 52 career games and started in 38. He set a school standard with 10 career fumble recoveries.
Tripp is also involved in several local charitable and civic events, and was a nominee for the American Football Coaches' Association's annual "Good Works Team" for his community involvement.
Jordan is a third-generation football player at Montana. His father, Bryan was a linebacker from 1989-90, while his grandpa Gene was an offensive lineman from 1963-64.
Tripp was the 11th player in Grizzly history to be invited to play in the East-West Shrine Game. The last Grizzly player to play in the East-West Shrine Game was offensive lineman Chase Raynock, who participated in 1999.
The first Senior Bowl was played in Jacksonville, Fla.'s Gator Bowl in 1950, and moved to Mobile's Ladd-Peebles Stadium one year later, where it has remained.