Tripp Welborne (Dean of Athletics and Co-Curricular Education) has been selected by Sports Illustrated as one of the greatest players ever to take the field in the 133-year history of the University of Michigan’s storied football program. The former defensive back is one of only 22 student-athletes named to the first team list, which the magazine says encompasses “the greatest Wolverines ever … battle-tested tough guys, athletes of historic versatility.” Welborne was named to the University of Michigan’s Athletics Hall of Honor in 2020.
“This is truly a wonderful honor. Just to be mentioned in the same breath as Wolverine greats is a testament to the collective commitment of teammates and coaches who were instrumental in my journey,” said Welborne. “Great things are always possible when the path to success is focused on The Team, The Team, The Team.”
Welborne was a four-year letterman (1987-90) and three-year starter at safety for Michigan. He was a two-time consensus All-American (1989-90) ), the only Wolverine in history to earn unanimous selection twice, and is one of just 21 players in school history to be named first-team All-American at least two times during their career. Welborne was a two-time All-Big Ten first team selection (1989-90) and won the 1990 National College Defensive Player of the Year Award presented by the National Athletic Awards and Dodge. He also was a finalist for the 1989 Jim Thorpe Award, presented to college football's top defensive back. Welborne set a single season record for punt return yardage and was voted the Bo Schembechler Most Valuable Player of the 1990 team by his teammates. He was an integral member of three consecutive Big Ten championship teams (1988-89-90), and he helped the Wolverines win three bowl games during his four seasons -- 1988 Hall of Fame Bowl, 1989 Rose Bowl and 1991 Gator Bowl. Michigan finished in the top 10 of the final national polls in three of his four seasons and in the top 20 all four years: No. 4 in 1988, No. 7 in 1989 and 1990, and No. 19 in 1987. A native of Greensboro, North Carolina, Welborne attended Page High School and was the #1 rated wide receiver in the country prior to entering college. He was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings and was a member of the 1992 NFC Central Division championship team.
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