|Height / Weight:|
6-7 / 310
Former Commodore set to compete in Indianapolis
Kickoff set for 1:30 p.m. Saturday on NFL Network
All-SEC offensive lineman started 35 games at tackle for Commodores
Cunningham leads 11 draft-eligible Vanderbilt players as draft opens Thursday
Talent showcase starts March 1 in Indianapolis
Considered the Commodores' most gifted offensive lineman, Welch posted 11 starting assignments as a fifth-year senior despite struggling with an ankle sprain during the final six weeks of action... Switched to left tackle after starting as right tackle in 2008... Opened season in outstanding fashion, earning team's Offensive Player of the Week honor after productive efforts against Western Carolina and Mississippi State... Through first half of season, consistently earning "winning" blocking grade by coaches despite lack of overall production by offensive unit... Suffered ankle injury at South Carolina and was forced to sideline for encounter against Florida... Tried to play with injury against Kentucky and Tennessee, but missed much of both games... Represented offensive line on the team's team's leadership council.
Put together a solid season in first year as starter on the offensive line... Started all 13 games right tackle, playing more than 90 percent of the Commodores' offensive plays during the season... Regarded as one of line's most physical players while consistently earning "winning" blocking graded from by offensive coaches... Earned team's Offensive Player of the Week award after performance against Florida, and shared the recognition with TB Jared Hawkins after the Dores' victory over South Carolina.
Played effectively as second team offensive tackle in first full year at position... After missing opening games against Richmond and Alabama, participated in every contest as the team's top OT reserve... Also played on several special teams' units, earning Specialist of the Week honors for his performance against Kentucky.
Moved to offensive tackle from tight end early in season after injuries sidelined two tackles... Saw action as a tight end in season opener, then played as an undersized tackle in seven games... First action as a tackle came in win over Temple... Enjoyed substantial role in three-game stretch that included South Carolina, Duke and Florida.
Redshirted as freshman... Worked as tight end during fall drills.
Senior captain... Two-year starter for Bruins... Moved to tight end as senior after playing quarterback previous two years... Also was standout at defensive end... As senior defensive end, contributed 53 tackles, five fumble recoveries, four sacks and a blocked PAT... Hauled in 16 receptions for 354 yards and four TDs as tight end... Squad went 10-3 in 2004, and qualified for playoffs each varsity season... One of region's leading passers as junior... Also a standout pitcher/first baseman and former two-year letterwinner as forward in basketball.
Dwayne Thomas Welch Jr... Son of Jennifer Wallens and Dwayne Welch... Mom is realtor and environmental consultant; dad works in finance services... Mom played college basketball at Rollins (Fla.) College... Older brother pitched at Southern Illinois; older sister, Shannon, played collegiate volleyball... Honors student... Played high school with former Commodore DE Richard Freeman... Welch earned his undergraduate degree in Economics in December 2009.
Brentwood Head Coach Ron Crawford
"Thomas got injured about three weeks into camp, forcing the move from quarterback to tight end. It might have been a blessing in disguise for Thomas. You are talking about an athlete, a three-sport star on the campus for three years.
"He's still raw at the position, but he dramatically improved throughout the year. Plus, Thomas is still young, only 17, and is going to get so much better. You are talking about a football player with a bright, bright future."