Idaho's Mike Iupati was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers with the 17th overall selection in Thursday's first round of the NFL Draft.
“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 hugging his parents and other family members after his selection. “It was very emotional.”
The 6'6" 330 pound offensive guard is the first Vandals football player drafted in the first round since running back Ray McDonald was picked 13th overall by the Washington Redskins in 1967. They are the only Idaho players selected in the opening round in th 75-year history of the draft.
"Big Mike" as he is known, started for three years at Idaho, but he did miss some time in 2008 after offseason shoulder surgery. He played guard in college, but many experts think he could play tackle in the NFL.
Iupati is the most decorated Vandals football player in years. He was one of three finalists for the Outland Trophy, which is awarded to the best interior lineman in the country every year. He also earned several All-America honors.