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PROVO, Utah (April 26, 2009) - BYU senior Fui Vakapuna became the second Cougar drafted on Sunday when he was chosen by the Cincinnati Bengals in the seventh round of the 2009 NFL Draft. A 5-foot-11, 244-pound running back, Vakapuna was the sixth pick of the seventh round, marking the 215th overall selection in this year's draft. Teammate Austin Collie was selected earlier in day, going to the Indianapolis Colts in round four.
A native of Glendale, Utah, Vakapuna was the 20th running back taken and one of 22 selected overall during the seven-round draft. He becomes the 10th Cougar running back to be drafted by the NFL and the first since Doak Walker Award winner Luke Staley was a seventh-round pick by the Detroit Lions in 2002. Other BYU running backs to be drafted include Dustin Johnson (sixth round by the New York Jets in 1998); Lakei Heimuli (ninth round by the Chicago Bears in 1987); Vai Sikahema (10th round by the St. Louis Cardinals in 1986); Scott Phillips (fourth round by the Seattle Seahawks in 1981); Todd Christensen (second round by the Dallas Cowboys in 1978); Pete VanValkenburg (third round by the New Orleans Saints in 1973); and Allan Robinson (16th round by the Detroit Lions in 1964). Christensen went on to become a Pro Bowl tight end in the NFL.
Vakapuna is the seventh BYU player drafted by the Bengals, joining quarterback John Walsh (1995, seventh round), tight end Chris Smith (1991, 11th round), defensive end Jason Buck (1987, first round), linebacker Leon White (1986, fifth round), linebacker Cary Whittingham (1986, ninth round) and quarterback Gary Sheide (1975, third round).
Current Bengal tight end Daniel Coats is a former teammate of Vakapuna's at BYU. The two players entered the BYU program together as freshmen in 2002 and also were on Cougar squads together in 2003 and 2006.
Vakapuna is a four-year letterwinner who averaged 4.7 yards per carry while totaling 1,181 yards over his four seasons on the field. Serving primarily as a blocking back during his career, Vakapuna is a powerful back with good running ability. He added 189 yards on 28 receptions as a receiver out of the backfield. He scored 14 touchdowns on the ground and four through the air for BYU.
Known for his unselfish devotion to the team, Vakapuna has been a valuable contributor to BYU's success. Over the past three seasons since returning from mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Vakapuna has helped the Cougars achieve a 32-7 record that only five teams in the nation have topped during that span. He has been part of an offensive attack that ranked No. 16, No. 25 and No. 4 in total offense in 2008, 2007 and 2006, respectively.
FUI VAKAPUNA CAREER STATS YEAR GMS ATT YDS AVG TD LONG REC YDS AVG TD LONG 2003 8 30 157 5.2 1 28 6 29 4.8 0 11 2006 12 92 481 4.8 8 38 11 87 7.9 3 24 2007 10 73 252 3.5 2 18 1 4 4.0 0 4 2008 12 54 291 4.9 3 33 10 69 6.9 1 12 TOTAL 42 249 1181 4.7 14 38 28 189 8.8 4 24
CAREER HIGHS CARRIES: 16 (VS. BOISE ST; OCT. 30, 2003) YARDS: 97 (AT SAN DIEGO STATE; DEC. 1, 2007) TD: 3 (VS. UTAH STATE; SEPT. 23, 2006) LONG: 38 (VS. TULSA; SEPT. 9, 2006)