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BYU football: Harvey Unga drafted by the Chicago Bears

Published: Thursday, July 15 2010 4:11 p.m. MDT

Harvey Unga simply wanted an opportunity to play in the National Football League.

That opportunity presented itself Thursday when BYU's all-time leading rusher was selected in the seventh and final round of the NFL supplemental draft by the Chicago Bears.

Unga is expected to compete for the No. 3 running back spot along with Khalil Bell, Garrett Wolfe and rookie free agent Brandon Minor when training camp opens on July 30. The Bears' top running backs are Matt Forte and Chester Taylor. Taylor was recently signed as a free agent.

While the Bears had shown significant interest in Unga before the draft, the fact he was picked up by Chicago was somewhat surprising because of the number of running backs already on the roster.

Unga was looking for a shot in the NFL after withdrawing from BYU in April due to an honor code violation. Fiancée and former BYU women's basketball player Keilani Moeaki also withdrew at that time.

During Unga's pro day in Provo last week, conducted in front of 20 NFL scouts, Unga disclosed that he recently became a father. Moeaki gave birth to a son, Jackson (named after Unga's father), who was born on July 4 in the Chicago area. In the days prior to Unga's pro day, Unga held an individual workout for the Bears in Chicago.

Going into the supplemental draft, there were questions about what position Unga might play in the NFL — tailback or a fullback.

"He's definitely a (tailback)," a scout from one NFL team that showed interest in Unga told ESPN.com. "He can catch the ball really well, but I honestly don't think he blocks well enough (to play fullback). ... But the guy is a player."

In his three seasons at BYU, Unga rushed for 3,455 yards on 696 carries and recorded three consecutive 1,000-yard rushing seasons. He scored 45 career touchdowns for the Cougars. Unga also caught 102 passes for 1,085 yards.

Unga was one of two players drafted Thursday, along with Illinois defensive end Josh Price-Brent, who was picked by the Dallas Cowboys, also in the seventh round. The Bears and Cowboys will forfeit their seventh-round picks in the 2011 NFL draft.

e-mail: jeffc@desnews.com

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