With the 215th pick of the NFL draft, the Cincinnati Bengals select RB Taufui Vakapuna, BYU. Vakapuna will likely compete against Jeremi Johnson and Daniel Coats as the team's fullback.
The Bengals reportedly enamored with BYU's back, Fui Vakapuna.
Vakapuna, who is ironically a cousin to Naufahu Tahi, finished his career with 1,181 yards rushing, 14 touchdowns on 249 attempts in 42 games played. He's roughly in the 250-pound range, under six-foot tall and with a 40-time of 4.68 at BYU's Pro Day, where he "posted a 34-inch vertical and knocked out 29 reps on the bench press." In other words, a brick with strength.
His career at BYU
SENIOR - (2008): Earned letterman honors as a senior ... started eight games at fullback ... ran for 291 yards on 54 carries, totaling three touchdowns ... caught 10 passes for 69 yards and one touchdown ... longest run of the season was for 33 yards against UNLV.
JUNIOR - (2007): Received the Leon White Award for Unselfish Devotion ... slowed by injury throughout the season ... played in 10 games during the season ... earned letterman honors ... had 73 carries for 252 yards, averaging 3.5 yards per carry ... credited with a season-high 97 yards on 14 carries in the Cougars' win at San Diego State ... scored two touchdowns on the season.
SOPHOMORE - (2006): Earned letterman honors ... saw action in 12 of the Cougars' 13 games ... battled an ankle injury late in the season ... produced 445 yards on 92 carries during the season ... had eight rushing touchdowns ... averaged 4.8 yards per carry ... had a season-best 13 carries against Utah State ... totaled a season-high 89 yards rushing against Tulsa, including a memorable, hard-hitting 38-yard run ... credited with 11 receptions for 87 yards on the season, including three touchdown receptions.
FRESHMAN - (2003): Played in eight games during the season ... rushed 30 times for 157 yards ... scored one touchdown ... averaged 19.6 rushing yards per game ... rushed 16 times or 87 yards against Boise State ... rushed seven times for 56 yards against Utah ... participated in spring drills ... averaged over two yards per carry and scored two touchdowns during spring scrimmages.
From Sports Illustrated:
POSITIVES: Hard-working lead blocker with a solid game. Helps the quarterback sell the ball fakes, displays excellent vision, and has enough athleticism to get around the corner. Blocks with a nasty attitude, gets after assignments, and jolts defenders at the point of attack. Squares into blocks, and is strong enough to control defenders at the point of attack. Adequate pass catcher who adjusts to the errant throw and extends to make the reception away from his frame.
NEGATIVES: Gathers into blocks and decelerates, which makes it difficult for him to finish off opponents. Shows limited ability as a ball handler.
ANALYSIS: Vakapuna does the little things well, and he has enough size to be a lead blocker at the next level. He's mostly a one-dimensional player, yet he could find a home as a backup fullback/special teams player for a franchise that relies on the running game.
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