October 18, 2010
From Weber State to the NFL to rising opera star
(Michael C. Lewis, Salt Lake Tribune) – A native of the island of Tonga whose family moved to Salt Lake City when he was a toddler, Pupu’a was an athletic standout at Highland High School and Weber State University. He played so well for the Wildcats during a losing season as a senior — and showed such amazing speed for his size in postseason workouts — that the Cleveland Browns made him a fifth-round pick in the 1995 NFL Draft.
Even by then, though, his rich voice was attracting attention.
Pupu’a had grown to love opera music while reluctantly listening to his brother play it at home, and impressed those at Weber State for whom he had performed at a banquet. When he sat on the bleachers at Wildcat Stadium for an interview shortly after being drafted, he already was planning to play five or six years in the NFL, then quit and pursue a singing career.
“Since Pavarotti is getting ready to retire,” he said at the time, “they’re going to need somebody for the spotlight.”
Finally, after an arduous and amazing journey he could never have imagined, the spotlight has found him.
You may read this full article from The Salt Lake Tribune here.Posted by: psilberman