Players

Fenuki Tupou  

Height: 6-5   Weight: 323   Age: 33

Born: 5/2/1985 Sacramento , CA

College: Oregon

Experience: Season

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Draft 2009

Pick No.159

Selected By: Philadelphia Eagles

Round: 5

Pick (Overall): 23 (159)

Pick Analysis: Fenuki Tupou had a stellar career at Sierra College, but head coach Mike Belotti gambled that Tupou (pronounced fen-UU-kee TUU-puu) would be better served spending the 2006 season acclimating to major college life.

That plan proved to be a good one. Tupou would go on to anchor the demanding left offensive tackle position for a unit that led the Pac-10 Conference in total offense during the last two seasons. Tupou registered 154 knockdowns and 25 touchdown-resulting blocks while starting 23 of the 24 games in which he appeared for the Ducks.

Tupou did a little bit of everything for the Center High School football team. He lined up at quarterback, defensive end, tight end and defensive tackle. In addition to competing in football, he earned three letters in track and also rugby.

Upon graduating, Tupou enrolled at Sierra College. The two-time All-Mid Empire Conference selection lined up at offensive tackle. The team went undefeated during his freshman season and in 2005 compiled a 9-2 mark, snapping a string of 37 consecutive victories. The Wolverines finished 12th in the state junior college ranks in total offense, averaging 430.7 yards per game his sophomore season.

That year, Tupou was named an All-American honorable mention by J.C. Grid-Wire and ranked 34th in the country among junior college recruits by Rivals.com. He received a four-star prospect rating from Scout.com, and closed out his career with 15 knockdowns and two touchdown-resulting blocks in a 35-24 win over Butte College in the community college Holiday Bowl.

The list of suitors for Tupou's services was as long as any other prospect's in the 2006 junior college recruiting class. He had offers from Nebraska, Arizona, Washington, California, Brigham Young, Oregon State, Texas Christian and Michigan. His deciding factor on selecting a program was the quality of education.

"Number one, the most important thing for me is the education," Tupou told Scout.com, noting he hoped to major in law or business. "I want to go to a school with a quality education, because after I'm done playing I will need that to fall back on." Oregon would soon be his next "port of call," as he enrolled in time to compete in 2006 spring drills.

Most young players would have been disappointed by the decision to redshirt him in 2006, but Tupou saw the benefit of sitting out the year.

In 2007, Tupou took over left offensive tackle duties for the Ducks. He earned second-team All-Pac 10 Conference honors and was the recipient of the Jimmy Rogers Jr. Most Valuable Lineman Award in the Sun Bowl, as he manhandled All-American pass rusher George Selvie, holding the South Florida standout to one assisted tackle while knocking him down 10 times and recording two touchdown-resulting blocks.

As a junior, Tupou started 12 of the Ducks' 13 games, seeing limited action vs. California due to a mild concussion. He finished his first season at Oregon with 85 knockdowns and 12 touchdown-resulting blocks. He allowed just two quarterback sacks on 413 pass plays, helping the Ducks average 467.54 yards in total offense and 41.92 points per game, leading the Pac-10 in both categories.

In 2008, Tupou almost saw his season come to an end before it began. He was suspended for the season opener after accepting a meal and $100 from a sports agent. The senior served the one-game, NCAA-imposed suspension after reporting his violation to the athletic department and turning the money over to its compliance office. He told university officials he met with a representative at a Eugene restaurant in July. The representative, according to Tupou, paid for the $10 meal and gave him five $20 bills during a parting handshake.

Tupou said he tried to return the cash several times, but was refused. According to NCAA bylaws, athletes can meet with agents, but can't accept any benefits or enter a formal agreement until their playing eligibility is complete. The university notified the Pacific-10 Conference and the NCAA, who in turn notified the NFL Players Association, the union that oversees agents. The NCAA issued the one-game suspension and ordered Tupou to donate the money to charity.

The left tackle returned to his familiar position in the second game, starting 10 contests. He sat out the UCLA contest due to a right knee sprain that he suffered in the first quarter against USC. Tupou posted 74 knockdowns and 13 touchdown-resulting blocks as Oregon again led the conference with an average of 484.85 yards in total offense per game. For his performance, he was named an All-American third-team and All-Pac 10 Conference first-team choice.