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Mike Iupati Interview
This is a really interesting read about a guy many of us have begun to pimp.
Mike Iupati Interview
January 22, 2010
The Idaho football program doesn't exactly pump out boatloads of pro prospects but this year is an exception. Not only is Vandals OG Mike Iupati considered to be a potential first round pick in the 2010 NFL Draft but he could come off the board earlier than any Idaho player in more than twenty-five years. A consensus 1st Team All-American in 2009, Iupati has excellent size (6-6, 330), outstanding brute strength and rare athleticism for such a large man. The scary part is he didn't begin playing football until he was 14-years-old, which means as good as he already is there's still plenty of room for improvement. Mike was kind enough to take some time out of his busy schedule as he prepares for the Senior Bowl and the Draft process to answer some questions posed by Draft Countdown's Scott Wright.
Scott Wright: What is your accurate height, weight and forty time?
Mike Iupati: 6-5Ĺ, 320, 5.2 (Note: Weighed 340 at the Time; Quicker Now.)
Scott Wright: You grew up in American Samoa before coming to the United States at the age of 14. What was the biggest adjustment and how did you get into football?
Mike Iupati: The language barrier was a big difficulty. I understood what people are talking about but when people were using big words I would get lost. The more I learned about the language the more I understood it. Everything is very busy here. I started playing football when in I was in a regular PE class. The coach said if I wanted to play, I could try out. I liked it right away. It was fun because I was mostly a defensive player. They said whoever has the ball go tackle them.
Scott Wright: In 2008 you missed some time with a shoulder injury. Can you talk about the nature of that injury and where are you health-wise now?
Mike Iupati: Itís completely healed.
It was a tore labrum and I had to have it surgically repaired.
Scott Wright: You have a reputation as a player who really takes care of business in the weight room. What are your personal bests?
Mike Iupati: Bench: 400 | Squat: 580 | Power Clean: 330
Scott Wright: What would you say is your greatest strength as a football player and what area do you need to work on?
Mike Iupati: I am very strong off the ball.
There are different kinds of technical stuff that are needed to play at the next level.
Thatís what Iím doing now.
Scott Wright: What current NFL offensive lineman do you most admire and who do you think you compare favorably to?
Mike Iupati: Deuce Lutui (Arizona Cardinals) and Chris Kemoeatu (Pittsburgh Steelers).
Scott Wright: What is your greatest football moment to date?
Mike Iupati: Winning the Humanitarian Bowl.
Scott Wright: Who is the best opposing player you have faced during your career?
Mike Iupati: It's hard to tell.
Scott Wright: Is there one younger player at Idaho that you see developing into a star, either at the college or pro level?
Mike Iupati: Shiloh Keo (safety), Jonah Sataraka (defensive tackle), Nate Enderle (quarterback), Matt Cleveland (offensive tackle).
Scott Wright: Who was your favorite college or pro team growing up?
Mike Iupati: I didnít really have one.
Scott Wright: Did you have a favorite player?
Mike Iupati: Ricky Williams of the Miami Dolphins.
Scott Wright: When did you realize that you had a future in football beyond college?
Mike Iupati: When I came in as a freshman I was just really confident. I remember I told a girl my freshman year that I was going to be a first round pick. She doubted me. I was just confident then. I didnít think about it. I just did what was necessary. I knew everything would just come along with it.
Scott Wright: What current pro are you looking forward to going up against in the NFL?
Mike Iupati: I would like to go against Fili Moala of the Indianapolis Colts and Mike Patterson of the Philadelphia Eagles.
Scott Wright: When you get your first NFL paycheck what is the first thing you will buy?
Mike Iupati: A house for my parents so they can move back to Samoa when they retire.
Scott Wright: What do you plan to do once your playing career is over?
Mike Iupati: Iíd like to get into coaching to teach what I learned from my career in football. I want to be a good mentor and teach lifeís lessons.
Scott Wright: What is the most embarrassing song on your iPod?
Mike Iupati: The songs from (teammate) Tevita Halaholoís library.
He has some girlie music.
Scott Wright: Itís obviously still early but do you have any goals in mind when it comes to the NFL Draft (i.e. Round 1, Top 3 Rounds, etc.)?
Mike Iupati: It depends on what people think of me during this process. I know they think highly of me. I am hoping to be in the first round or early second round.
Scott Wright: I really appreciate the time. Take care and good luck.
Scott Wright is the founder and President of Draft Countdown.com. An authority in the field, he has been scouting players and evaluating the NFL Draft since 1993 and has been featured as a football expert by media outlets all across the country.