Utah Utes football: Tauni Vakapuna moving up the running back depth chart despite setbacks

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  • simply me SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Aug. 20, 2011 10:40 a.m.

    Wish my nephew all the luck the world, make the best it. GO BYU.

  • MiP Iowa City, IA
    Aug. 19, 2011 10:22 p.m.

    Great kid. Well, at least the Utes have depth at RB.

    Great job.

    Go utes!

    Aug. 19, 2011 8:39 p.m.

    che loco, yes he attended school in spring. Case closed, children, play nice.

  • che loco Springville, UT
    Aug. 19, 2011 5:24 p.m.

    Naval Vet,

    I didn't draw any conclusions, that's why I was asking a question to see if someone knew what the situation was. Obviously, you don't know. So if there's nothing to add, what are you insinuating about me? Turn your sensitive feelings off for a minute, will ya?

  • Duckhunter Highland, UT
    Aug. 19, 2011 5:08 p.m.

    I wasn't aware of his family issues, I only knew that he had quit playing football. Of course what he did was commendable, frankly it is inspiring. I love stories of this sort no matter what the team or player. Good luck to him and I am glad he gets to play that final season. I also sincerely hope hs mother and sister are well on their way to recovery.

  • Naval Vet Philadelphia, PA
    Aug. 19, 2011 1:32 p.m.

    che loco:

    The article did not state that he dropped out of college to take care of his ailing mother. All it said was that he dropped Football. I don't know from where you're drawing any academic hindrance conclusions.

  • meet me in the MUSS Sandy, Utah
    Aug. 19, 2011 1:24 p.m.

    che loco, all they said is that he left the team, it didn't say anything about attending classes, and he is eligible, so he must have attended classes

  • che loco Springville, UT
    Aug. 19, 2011 12:58 p.m.

    Honest question: Did he go to school in either the Spring or Summer semesters? I don't know how he'd be eligible to play since student-athletes need to pass 24 credit hours at a 2.0 GPA from the previous school year in order to participate. If he sat out Spring and/or Summer how is it that he's eligible?

  • Wolverine 04 South Jordan, Ut
    Aug. 19, 2011 12:11 p.m.

    Now that Vakapuna has showed his mental and physical toughness as well as his commitment to the University lets get him a scholarship!

  • Ernest T. Bass Bountiful, UT
    Aug. 19, 2011 11:37 a.m.

    TJ: get over it. This isn't about byu it's about this kid and his priorities.

  • JohnInSLC Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Aug. 19, 2011 11:18 a.m.

    BYU/Jazz fan | 10:04 a.m. Aug. 19, 2011
    West Valley, UT

    "A chance when they didn't earn it, how sad is that?"

    Sad in that you're left hoping your team qualifies for the helicopter bowl, or whatever it is?

    News Flash: Living right on and off the field doesn't just happen in Provo. Didn't your boy say that, magic happens?

  • Qwest Perfected Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 19, 2011 11:05 a.m.

    I'm so happy Vakapuna came back for his senior year!!! He is great running back and great man to have on the team. Younger players will get better just by being around this guy and following in his footsteps.

    I hope he has a great year with the Utes - we seem to be pretty deep at running back. I hope they can all stay healthy and continue to push each other to get better.

    Not much time left to get the final tweaks in place for this team. I can't wait for the season to begin!

    Go Utes!!!

  • ClassyUte SOUTH JORDAN, UT
    Aug. 19, 2011 10:58 a.m.

    Vakapuna is a great man. I would love to maybe see him in the "Asiata" wildcat package on third-and-short or near the goal line this year. It sounds like he would excel there if Whit says he is good at staying behinid his pads and hitting gaps well. He should have a great season.

    Go Utes!!!

  • JohnInSLC Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Aug. 19, 2011 10:06 a.m.

    Very nice to read about those players who actually care about and sacrifice for other people. Coach Whit seems to excel in finding them and letting them blossom on and off the field. It's a refreshing change from the daily dose of stories about players who will happily put their school and other people in jeopardy to satisfy a "me first" attitude.

    Here's to a full and speedy recovery for Tauni's mom and sister. A good season would be just a little more icing on that cake.

  • BYU/Jazz fan West Valley, UT
    Aug. 19, 2011 10:04 a.m.

    I hope he continues to put his family first as that's where his priorities lie. How's this for a little sad fact, USC could do better than UTAH in the South conference but because USC is ineligible from competing for a conference championship, Utah could get a chance anyways. A chance when they didn't earn it, how sad is that?

  • Naval Vet Philadelphia, PA
    Aug. 19, 2011 10:02 a.m.


    So Utah RB Tauni Vakapuna opts to drop football in order to put his family first, and you see that as a reflection of somebody ELSE who happened to have played for the Y 30 yrs ago?

    Wow! But then I guess that's pretty typical of a fanbase so DESPERATE for an "attaboy".

    I'm sure Jon Hayes improvement at the QB position must have been on account of him sitting next to a former Deacon's Quorem President in English class way back when he was in the 8th grade.

  • WhoAmISir Holladay, UT
    Aug. 19, 2011 9:36 a.m.

    Any player, from any program, that does the things he has done for his family then comes back to the program and performs at a high level is someone that kids looking for direction in life can look to for guidance.
    If he makes the travel squad I hope, expect, that he should receive a scholarship. He is doing on and off the field.

  • Ibleedcrimson Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Aug. 19, 2011 9:30 a.m.

    "Why don't they have him listed on the roster of the University of Utah Athletics web page?"

    Whoever admins that site seems to run around 6 years behind the times. I wouldn't read anything into it.

  • TJ Eagle Mountain, UT
    Aug. 19, 2011 8:11 a.m.

    He put his family first. Sounds like what BYU preaches and what many of the less intelligent "usual posters" condemn BYU for on this comment board. Not putting football first. I guess that is a litte hold over from Whittinghams days at BYU. I commend both coach and player.

  • bulldog72 Holladay, UT
    Aug. 19, 2011 7:32 a.m.

    This is a great kid - he was also a beast on the rugby field for Highland Rugby

  • bgl Santa Monica, CA
    Aug. 19, 2011 6:28 a.m.

    Why don't they have him listed on the roster of the University of Utah Athletics web page? He seems slightly worthy. Also, that web page should include pictures of freshmen during their freshman season. Perhaps not right away, but they shouldn't have to go the whole season without their picture on their schools athletics web page. Also, the web page should get the year of the player correct (John Cullen is not a Jr.). And yes--I have contacted them.

  • byronbca Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 19, 2011 12:17 a.m.

    I thought Vakapuna looked just as good as the starters in the limited action he saw last year. I'm not sure White is big enough to be an every down back, or if he can do well in short yardage and goal line, so Vakapuna is a perfect change of pace guy, they will compliment each other perfectly.

    I love it when good things happen to good people, Keep it up Tauni!

    This offense is starting to get healthy, they are starting to come together, and they are going to surprise people this year.

  • Classless Ute Fan Magna, UT
    Aug. 18, 2011 11:22 p.m.

    Actually, I liked Vakapuna last year. It is unfortunate that his mother had health issues. Of course, he made the right decision to leave to take care of his family. There is nothing more important.

    He seems like a strong runner that is hard to bring down. He may not be the fastest person on the team, but I sure wouldn't have to try and run him down. Last fall in camp had like a 80-90 yard run. After he busted through, nobody could catch him.

    Great article.

    Go Utes!!!

  • Veritas Aequitas Fruit Heights, UT
    Aug. 18, 2011 10:59 p.m.

    Looking forward to watching the young man play, and best wishes.

    Here's hoping that watching you play helps your family heal.

  • Mid-Major Cougars San Diego, CA
    Aug. 18, 2011 10:14 p.m.

    Such a smart young man.

    Typical Ute!

  • SoCalUtahFan Irvine, CA
    Aug. 18, 2011 10:06 p.m.

    What a character. What a smart young man to make such a great decision.

    I, for one, wish Vakapuna will have a successful season.

    Football aside, he is a man --man enough to give up anything for his mother.

    He is a Utes!!!