Thursday, July 15, 2010
The Bears selected BYU's all-time leading rusher in the seventh round of Thursday's NFL supplemental draft, capping off a tumultuous spring and summer for the BYU standout, who was dismissed from his college team this spring for having sexual relations with someone outside of marriage, which is considered an honor-code violation at the Mormon university.
Unga's fiance, former Wheaton-Warrenville South standout Keilani Moeaki, who played for BYU's basketball team, also voluntarily withdrew from the university. The couple's son was born on July 4. Shortly after learning he had been drafted by the Bears, Unga helped set up the tent where his nuptials will take place today in Provo, Utah. "There's always a rainbow beyond those clouds and that's where I'm heading now," a relieved Unga said.
It was the first time the Bears have acquired a player via the supplemental draft since its inception in 1977.
Unga rushed for more than 1,000 yards in each of his first three years at BYU before being dismissed in April. In all, the 6-3/4, 244-pounder rushed for 3,446 yards on 692 carries and 35 touchdowns during his collegiate career and caught 102 passes for 1,085 yards and nine more touchdowns.
"Today's news should help him cover the catering cost at his wedding," joked Unga's agent, Eric Metz.
The selection of Unga was somewhat surprising given the Bears have depth at running back. Unga will compete for a roster spot with veterans Matt Forte, Chester Taylor, Kahlil Bell, Garrett Wolfe and rookie free agent Brandon Minor, formerly of Michigan.
"To be honest, I was surprised," Unga said of the Bears interest. "They're stacked up with running backs right now. They don't need another back. I'm just going to come in there and bust my butt and make the best of the situation. I told them this is something they won't regret and I'm a man of my word."
Unga has chosen his words carefully when discussing the reason for his dismissal from BYU's team but admitted Thursday that it was for the aforementioned honor code violation.
"It's not rocket science, obviously," he said. "It happened. Obviously, it's nothing to hide. Half of the United States probably knows. I'm just trying to make the best of the situation and press forward. I'm human. I made a mistake. I'm facing the consequences. At the same time, there have been positives to what has happened."
One positive is that the couple will now be able to remain close to Moeaki's family, which still resides in Wheaton. "He'll get a lot more sleep in training camp than he would if he were at home, anyway," Metz said.