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NEWYORK-- Idaho's Mike Iupati was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers with the 17th overall selection in Thursday's first round of the NFL Draft.

Right when I got the call, I was so excited, said Iupati, who looked the part during ESPN coverage of the draft that showed him hugging his parents and other family members after his selection. It was very emotional.

The 6'6 330 pound offensive guard is the first Vandals football player drafted in the first round since running back Ray McDonald was picked 13th overall by the Washington Redskins in 1967. They are the onlyIdahoplayers selected in the opening round in th 75-yearhistory of the draft.

Big Mike as he is known, started for three yearsat Idaho, but he did miss some time in 2008 after offseason shoulder surgery. He played guard in college, but many experts think he could play tacklein the NFL.

Iupatiis the most decoratedVandals football playerin years. He was one of three finalists for the Outland Trophy, which is awarded to the best interior lineman in the country every year. He also earned several All-America honors.

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