MISSOULA — The call came later than expected, but Missoula product Jordan Tripp was taken in the fifth round of the NFL draft on Saturday by the Miami Dolphins.
The former Montana outside linebacker was the 171st pick overall and the 31st chosen in the fifth round. Some experts had him going as early as the third round and prior to the draft Tripp told FoxSports.com he considered himself the “most versatile” linebacker available.
Tripp is believed to be the first Missoula product ever drafted. The Missoula Big Sky grad will join former Griz defensive back Jimmy Wilson in Miami.
“So happy my brother is gonna to be out here,” Wilson offered on Twitter.
Tripp, who was unavailable for comment, was spiritual in his Twitter reply.
“Thank you Lord... Truly blessed... Thank you to the Miami staff and organization for this opportunity!”
No one was happier for Tripp than Montana defensive coordinator Ty Gregorak.
“When I talked to him I just got a little chill, I’m not going to lie,” the coach said. “I guess that was his first phone call after he got off the phone with the head coach and the GM and spent a nice chunk of time on the phone with them.
“I know he was a little bummed ... When you start getting speculation and certain people, both coaches and GMs giving him third- and fourth-round grades, and you’re a young man and you start getting excited, I just felt for him. I really believed he’d be a third- or fourth-round pick. It didn’t happen and I just said stay the course and relax. You’re going to go to a great team. I think it’s a great situation.”
Tripp (6-31/2, 237 pounds) ranked second in tackles for UM last season with 100. He has been a first team All-Big Sky Conference and an All-America selection the past two seasons. He was a finalist for the Buck Buchanan Award (the FCS Defensive Player of the Year) in 2012 and 2013 and finished 10th in the balloting for that award both of those seasons.
Jordan is a third-generation Griz football player. His dad, Bryan, was a linebacker from 1989-90. His grandpa, Gene, played on the offensive line in 1963-64.
“The last defensive player we had go in the fifth round was a fellow by the name of Kroy Biermann,” Gregorak said, referring to a former UM defensive end from Hardin now playing for the Atlanta Falcons. “I think he’s done some great things in the NFL and I’m fired up for Jordan.”
UM middle linebacker Brock Coyle of Bozeman was one of a handful of Grizzlies to sign free-agent deals after the draft ended. Coyle signed with the Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks, while three offensive linemen inked deals — Danny Kistler with the Raiders, Kjelby Oiland with the Texans and William Poehls with the Titans.