Well, all those phone calls came for a reason. San Francisco called Robb Akey at least three times leading up to the NFL draft about Idaho guad Mike Iupati, and the 49ers wound up taking the Samoan with the 17th pick.
Iupati is Idaho’s highest draft pick from UI since Ray McDonald went 13th in 1967, and the first Vandal taken since Eddie Williams in 2008 (a seventh-rounder). Click below for more.
Also, a reminder: I’ll be back tomorrow night to recap the Vandals’ Silver and Gold game.
It’s interesting that the 49ers chose Iupati and Rutgers tackle Anthony Davis in the first round. Davis, as described in this San Francisco Chronicle story, is athletic enough to be a pulling guard — which is exactly what makes Iupati so dominant.
Here’s UI’s release on Iupati’s special night:
Mike Iupati’s remarkable senior season culminated Thursday night in his being chosen the 17th pick of the National Football League draft by the San Francisco 49ers.
Iupati, who was at home in California with his family, said he knew moments before the nationally televised announcement that his name would be next.
“Right when I got the call, I was so excited,” said Iupati, who looked the part during ESPN coverage of the draft that showed him awaiting the announcement then hugging his parents and other family members. “It was very emotional.”
It marked the end of a long day for Iupati, who said his Mom woke him at 6:30 a.m. to make sure everything was in order for the arrival of the television crews and a house full of company.
“I waited and waited and waited,” he said. “I wasn’t really nervous.”
Iupati, who didn’t play football until he was 14, became Idaho’s highest draft choice since Ray McDonald was the 13th selection in the 1967 draft. He leaves Idaho as the most decorated player in school history as a consensus All-American and an Outland Trophy finalist. He also was part of a revitalized Vandal football team that won the 2009 Roady’s Humanitarian Bowl behind one of the highest rated offenses in the country.
“I’m very excited for Mike,” coach Robb Akey said. “I’m excited for his family. I know he has a great future.”