The University of Idaho Vandals had one player taken in the 2010 NFL Draft and that one player is Mike Iupati who played guard for the Vandals and hopes to win a starting offensive line position with the San Francisco 49ers after the bay area team selected him with the number 17 overall pick in the first round.
The University of Idaho football team competes in the Western Athletic Conference which is commonly referred to by the acronym WAC. As a frame of reference the WAC had a total of five players out of 255 2010 NFL Draft selections come from the mid major conference. By comparison the Southeastern conference which is commonly shortened to SEC had 49 players represented in the 2010 NFL Draft, nearly ten times as many as the lowly Western Athletic Conference.
Mike Iupati was the first player from the WAC chosen in the 2010 NFL Draft and was considered one of the top prospects at his position in all of college football entered the primetime nationally televised event held in Radio City Music Hall in New York City. There were only three offensive lineman selected head of Iupati in a draft that saw a total of 38 offensive linemen taken. At 6’5″ 330 pounds Iupati has the right build for an NFL offensive guard.
Before playing in four seasons of college football for the Vandals Mike was born and raised in the south pacific in American Samoa and spent his high school years with his family in Anaheim, California. In part due to arriving in the United States later in life and also having scholastic issues as a result of trying to pick up English as a second language (his native tongue is Samoan) Mike did not have the array of college scholarship choices that are normally associated with NFL first round selections.
Through hard work, persistence, and a bit of luck Iupati found his way onto the University of Idaho football team in 2006. After persevering through setbacks that included a surgically repaired shoulder Mike eventually flourished into a dominant interior offensive lineman who finally gained national attention as a senior.
In 2009 the Idaho Vandals had one player taken in NFL draft. Eddie Williams was selected in the seventh and final round by the Washington Redskins. Prior to Tight end Eddie Williams being selected the University of Idaho had the bitter sweet distinction of producing Mr. Irrelevant for the 2008 NFL Draft. Mr. Irrelevant is the title given to the very last player selected in the NFL Draft. In 2008 that player was David Vobora, a linebacker from Idaho.