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Pouha, Vakapuna Enjoying a Family Reunion

Posted by Randy Lange on May 25, 2012 – 1:04 pm

Sione Pouha wasn’t asked to provide a character reference for newly signed fullback Fui Vakapuna, but he easily could have. After all, the two big guys are family.

“Yeah, we grew up together in Utah,” Pouha said in the Jets’ locker room Thursday. “We were little kids in the same neighborhood. We went to the same high school. He’s related to my wife. Even though we’re cousins, we associate like brothers.”

Vakapuna, who was signed Wednesday and worked as a Jet for the first time at Thursday’s OTA practice, confirmed that he and Sione’s wife, Keiti, are second cousins. He also reminisced about the good old days back at East High School in Salt Lake City.

“Sione was there before me. He was already a legend and his class set the stage for the teams that I played on,” Vakapuna said. “We’re a very close family.”

The two share more than childhood memories. Both have gone on LDS missions, Pouha  to Pittsburgh from 1998-2000 and Vakapuna to Carlsbad, Calif., from 2004-06.

And both continue their good works to this day. It was just announced today that Pouha and his wife have contributed $50,000 to the University of Utah’s “Invest In Excellence” campaign for the Utes’ new football complex. The alumni locker room in the facility will open for the 2013 season bearing the Pouhas’ name.

As for Vakapuna, he’s been working with his wife, Leonne, at ScenicView Academy, a center for autistic young adults in Provo, Utah.

“It’s kind of the theme of the school, to help others, to give a hand. We give them hope,” Vakapuna told the Deseret News last month. And on Thursday he said, “It was great to work with my wife as well. It was awesome while it lasted.”

That’s because now he’s almost a country away from that gig as he tries once again to get his pro football career off and flying.

It’s been a mission of a different kind of Vakapuna, the 6’0″, 257-pounder who was a seventh-round pick out of BYU by Cincinnati in 2009 and is listed as a third-year pro but has yet to play an NFL regular-season down. He’s spent time with the Bengals, the Cardinals, the Bengals again (spending the entire 2010 season on IR with a shoulder injury) and the Colts before coming to the Jets.

“No, I haven’t had that opportunity yet. You get a little anxious,” he said. “But I was training out in Utah this offseason and working at the academy. I just trained a whole lot trying to get myself right, and I got a call from the Jets. I’m ready if they call my number.”

And this time he’s got family around to help him succeed in this particular phase of his life’s work.


Posted in Randy Lange | 27 Comments »


27 Responses to “Pouha, Vakapuna Enjoying a Family Reunion”

  1. By Jared S on May 25, 2012 | Reply

    Go Fui! Everyone here at ScenicView is pulling for you! :)

  2. By Freddie_K on May 25, 2012 | Reply

    Wow – Vakapuna can be a total BEAST for the ground & pound. Imagine Iron Mike in his glory days. This kid is a real beast to compliment the Terminator as the FB’s in the running game. Then with Greene & Ganaway behind them — it can be a lot of to watch this season. Let’s hope that by God’s good graces everyone stays healthy. Go Jets.

  3. By By Jet Fan Since 1964 Frank on May 26, 2012 | Reply

    FB the position yjat can hurt a gefense and open the passing game. Welcome Vak… Lets fo JETS…

  4. By By Jet Fan Since 1964 Frank on May 26, 2012 | Reply

    Damn, my fingers spell bad. Lets try this again.

    FB the position that can hurt a defense and open the passing game. Welcome Vak… Lets fo JETS

  5. By Bennett on May 26, 2012 | Reply

    You got to love these guys that are so sensitive to any critical comments on Sanchez but just totally rip Tebow. I never fiquered Tebow for an alternative to Sanchez . I just fiquered his deal would not be extended and some young gun like a Henne brought in to push him for the start spot. Now not only do we have Sanchez blind supporters regardless of the facts and his miserable finish last season but we have the same posters now total Tebow haters. Wow he threw 2 pics in practice and Sanchez looked sharp…. you got to be kidding if you read anything into that…gloating over nonesense… trival pre pre practice…

  6. By Jackson Unga on May 26, 2012 | Reply

    @Freddie_k and the rest!! you are not kidding ’bout this young man. He’s a total beast if given the oppotunity. He’s a hard worker and outstanding young man. Now he’s mature and the Jes won’t have to worry about him off the field either ’cause his lifestyle is unique and has a great and awesome wife. Good luck to my nephew Fui Vakapuna, Go Jets!!!!!!!!

  7. By GaryC on May 26, 2012 | Reply

    Hello jackson, are you related to the unga that played at BYU.was his name Harry Unga.

  8. By Jet Fan Since '64 Tom on May 26, 2012 | Reply

    Too bad FB is the least important position in football today, guys. Notice how that doesn’t stop Rex from getting excited about it though he can’t be bothered to learn how to manage a complete offense.

  9. By Bennett on May 27, 2012 | Reply

    The fact is Tebow came off the bench and lead them to the playoffs On the FIRST play of overtime in the playoff he threw a perfect pass to win the game and move on. When we played him we scored a huge 3 points in the first 1/2 and then in the last play he ran it down our throats and won the game for his team. Meanwhile Sanchez imploded in the last 3 games and even the most ardent defender will admit his preformance was miserable with the final Dolphins game a humiliation. This is reality …. oh but Tebow threw 2 pics practice… give back the Heissman… NFL career is over…Oh boy did Sanchez look sharp…sorry sharp in practice does not count, either does 2 pics

  10. By wayne on May 27, 2012 | Reply

    Thank you Bennett……..GQ is just as sensitive….It is for that very reason that I have strong doubts about his capacity to handle what’s coming…….Eli’s had the makeup to overcome the doubters and naysayers….GQ? We’ll see……..GQ won’t be looking at Tebow when he throws the ball……Mario Williams yeah…….The question is will he stand in there when the heat gets hot. That is the whole problem. The New York Football Jets have concluded that the problem was not the OL…Step into that throw GQ. No more ballerina moves, alligator arm throws or tunnel digging to avoid getting hit……..Man up or you will be sitting down……46% be damned……..And the coaches won’t have the whole say on it either…..

  11. By Karan on May 27, 2012 | Reply

    People tend to forget that Sanchez led the Jets to two AFC title games. He handled NE well in the playoffs, Tebow did not. In my book, both guys are winners. We have two young QBs with a ton of potential and something to prove.

  12. By Bennett on May 28, 2012 | Reply

    I never wanted Tebow here never expected it not really a fan or even really ineterested in him, just opens up a can of worms. But fair is fair the kid came off the bench and won, nobody here is saying he is an accurate passer or even a proven NFL starter, but man don’t slam the kid because you think he threatens Sanchez amkes no sense. I got to believe unless Sanchez has another melt down like the last 3 games last season the job is his and Tebow will be just another problem defensive coaches will have to spent alot of valuable time preparing for or the will get burned, just like we did. Leave the kid alone at least till we see how this plays out

  13. By Bennett on May 28, 2012 | Reply

    Hey Karan it’s funny when the Jets win it’s Sanchez led them , when the lose it’s always someone else lost it, like Shotty play calling or Hunter, never Sanchez led them to a loss.

  14. By scjoe on May 28, 2012 | Reply

    Bermuda was great, but it is back to business now. Jet Business! Bennett, that is the question I have been asking people for three years now. So far I have not gotten an answer. Rex gushing about Bart Scott is not a very encouraging sign. I would rather him be gushing about Coples, Davis, or one of the rookie safety’s, OR who ever is going to play QB or RT. Good to be back!!!!!!!!!!!

  15. By Jet Fan Since '64 Tom on May 28, 2012 | Reply

    Call if the Sparano Effect, with a tip of the hat to Arte Olde School. Amazing that Rex couldn’t figure how to do this himself or even with Schotty. From Cimini: “As Rex Ryan noted afterward, the Jets want to emphasize vertical passing this season. That’s the Tony Sparano philosophy: Hammer them with the running game and hit ‘em deep on play-action.” And speaking of vertical passing, scjoe, I’m sorry to say you get the Honorary Gregg Allman Wasted Words Award for Spring 2012 for all your talk about Schilens, now that Hill’s already been named the starter at WR opposite Holmes.

  16. By IRA on May 29, 2012 | Reply

    Man enough already with this QB stuff. I am going on record to say Sanchez will have a very good year and will improve from 09 and 10. Last year i am washing away. And you all better hope so becuase if for any reason Sanchez has to miss game or gets hurt and Tebow is the starter the Jets will be in for a very long year. Teams have a year of tape on Tebow now plus the Pats expeosed him in the playoffs so his type of game is not going to work anymore.

  17. By Frank on May 29, 2012 | Reply

    That’s hilarious….Sparano wants to go vertical. Sanchize-not is atrocious going vertical I guess Sparano doesn’t want to watch game film and go to dreamland with Rex. They tried that last year to disasterous results but then again that might be coachspeak for Tebow to become the starter since his numbers are SIGNIFICANTLY better than Sanchize-not on the deep ball.
    Teeeeeeeeeeeeeboooooooowwwwwwww Whoooooooooooaaaaaaaaa!

  18. By scjoe on May 29, 2012 | Reply

    Ira, with all due respect “teams” have THREE years of tape on Sanchez, so that point is moot. I don’t share your optimism on Sanchez improving leaps and bounds. As for Tebow? I truly believe he will be a legitimate competition to MC. That said, anything is possible.

  19. By Jet Fan Since '64 Tom on May 29, 2012 | Reply

    We brought this “QB stuff” on ourselves, Ira. If we hadn’t picked up Tebow in the first place, we might not have had to worry so much about what our backup QB is capable of because his name might’ve been McElroy. Now we might have to watch two overrated, high-priced QBs flop before we get to see what Mc can do.

  20. By Em on May 29, 2012 | Reply

    Fui we are so proud of you and all you’ve done for ScenicView. We wish you all the best. We can’t wait to cheer for you!

    Ofa Atu,
    Em

  21. By scjoe on May 29, 2012 | Reply

    64, Hill has already been named the starter? Really!! After a few days of OTAs? Do you think it has anything at all to do with where he was drafted? Because we both know (I think) it can’t have anything to do with his route running, or his grasp of the offense in those few days of “non contact, no pads, non game action, team activity’s”. Imagine if ALL starters were named on that basis? Besides, starters only remain starters when they produce in real time, not in OTAs.

  22. By scjoe on May 29, 2012 | Reply

    One more quick note on that 64, Just imagine how it would make T Bomb look if FA Schilens were named as the starter instead of 2nd round draft pick Hill. Think T Bomb may have had some influence on which of the two of them were named the “starter” even though neither has had a chance to show what they can do in real time. Not to worry Tom, I will be keeping a close look at that position battle, and exactly what opportunities are awarded each of these two players.

  23. By Karan on May 29, 2012 | Reply

    No, Sanchez has definetly led them to loses at times, I’m not denying that but he has also lead them to late wins. I just think the playcalling was one of the major factors into why he played poorly during some stretches.

  24. By Jet Fan Since '64 Tom on May 29, 2012 | Reply

    So now you’re expecting Schilens to beat out Hill for the starting job, scjoe? Keep digging and you might make it all the way to China. Yes, Hill is being handed the starting job, just like Coples, Wilkerson, Sanchez, Mangold, and Revis. It’s not exactly news that high draft choices often get designated as starters and are asked to play their way out of, not into, that role. What WAS news was your curious insistence that because we picked up Schilens, of all people, there was something odd about drafting Hill. Get back to me when Hill’s one of the bright spots on the team and Schilens barely makes it onto the field.

  25. By scjoe on May 30, 2012 | Reply

    64, Wrong!! I am NOT expecting Schilens to beat out Hill for the starting job. I am a realist! I know where Hill was drafted and I know how Schilens was acquired. I am not sure if Schilens were head and shoulders above Hill in camp if that would even be enough to secure the starting spot. We have a GM who’s motto should be “winning is important, saving face is more important” Question is 64, if it were a level playing field, you think that ridicules decision after a week of OTAs would have been made? How many more high draft picks sitting on the bench next to Ducasse, Wilson, and Ellis would it take to show this GM the door?

  26. By Jet Fan Since '64 Tom on May 30, 2012 | Reply

    I’d like to point out, scjoe, my post asking if you expected Schilens to beat out Hill for the job was sent before your two back-to-back posts about Hill and Mr T were printed, as well as before this last “64, Wrong!” post was printed. So let’s just say that while I’d like to see Mr T, Rex, and even Woody gone as much as anybody — and probably sooner than most anybody — it’s ridiculous to blame Hill for Mr T’s foolishness in spending $1 mil on Schilens when we already have that caliber of player in Turner. That’s like blaming Sanchez ’cause we picked up Tebow. The problem is not in our newly-drafted WRs, Horatio, but in our front office and HC’s office. I’m up for new owner Martin giving new HC Sparano a few yrs to turn the team around.

  27. By scjoe on May 31, 2012 | Reply

    64, again, I am not blaming Hill for anything. My focus in this debate is, and has been the incompetence of the FO, and the politics of this FO. Hill didn’t draft himself. Although it may sound like I am down on Hill at times it is strictly because I firmly believe there were more pressing needs at the time he was selected, not to mention the fact of giving up another valuable pick in the process. And what frosts my buns even more is the fact this player had such a limited body of work in college to warrant that selection. When you factor in Schilens presence on the roster already, I think you get my point.

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