Mel Triplett, Football (1951-54)
Mel Triplett is thought by many to have been one of the greatest running backs in the history of Rocket football. Statistics for Mel's 1951 and 1952 seasons are unavailable, but he lettered in both of those seasons and also in 1953 and 1954. As a junior he averaged 5.9 yards per carry. As a senior in 1954, he won All-Mid American Conference honors after netting 776 yards and averaging 5.2 yards per carry. He scored 18 touchdowns, the third highest total in one season in UT history. Triplett played both ways, too, and was a standout defensively as well as offensively, often playing 60 minutes a game. Mel was a model player and citizen while at UT in spite of laboring under circumstances that would have forced many athletes to give their sport. He had a wife and children to support even while attending the University and playing football and to do so worked 40 hours a week on a job outside the University. To this day, Mel Triplett is the only Toledo player ever to appear in the College All Star game that used to be played in Chicago's Soldier Field against the National Football League Champions. He started and starred in the Collegians win over the Cleveland Browns in 1954, overshadowing more publicized All-Americans like Alan (The Horse) Ameche, and Dick Bielski, both of whom went on to fame in the NFL. Mel Triplett went on to fame himself in the National Football League. For many years he was great ground gainer and even greater blocking back for the New York Giants. When he left the Giants for a trade to the Cleveland Browns, he was the fifth leading ground gainer in the Club's history. After playing in Cleveland, Triplett closed out his NFL career as a member of the Minnesota Vikings.