Bills OL J.J. ‘Unga took a long and winding road to the NFL coming out of Division II Midwestern State. After being signed to Buffalo’s practice squad last season, he was eventually called up to the active roster and saw some limited playing time over the last month of the 2013 season. As his younger brother tries to embark on a pro career, he is squarely on the NFL’s radar.
Uani ‘Unga, who also goes by Devin, is an inside linebacker out of BYU and he’s in Indianapolis at the NFL Combine. A tackling machine, ‘Unga got noticed due in part to all the NFL scouts who were busy watching fellow BYU LB Kyle Van Noy, who was a Butkus award finalist last year. After seeing the difficult road his older brother traveled to reach the NFL, he’s grateful for the invite to be here in Indy.
“I definitely feel fortunate,” Unga told Buffalobills.com. “I feel like it was a blessing to even be invited to the Combine. When I did get the invite it came as a surprise. Both my wife and I were excited. I think that just being able to do what I did during the season having to work hard and extra film work I think it’s paid off and been a blessing.”
Unga, who served a two-year mission, is a bit older than most college graduates considering he also had to redshirt a year after transferring from Oregon State. At 6’1″ and 233 pounds, ‘Unga is a bit undersized and may have to play in an under front to get some help inside as he might not be fleet footed enough to line up in a weak or open side position.
He’s forecast as a day three pick or priority free agent and is expected to run in the 4.8s in the 40.
“My brother basically just told me to have fun and don’t stress out too much,” said ‘Unga. “Just relax and be myself. I put in my work throughout this season and stuff and just be myself. They have my film, everybody has my film. Right now he’s just telling me to enjoy my time and my experience right now at the Combine.”
Uani remembers when his older brother J.J. signed with Buffalo last season. It was big news on his family’s online page.
“We have a family thread that we’re on together online and he just kind of let it out on the family thread. We were all excited and he was definitely excited to be on the practice squad,” said the younger ‘Unga. “Then when he got on the active roster with Buffalo it was just amazing for him since it was the first time.”
Uani has a twin brother Feti, who played at Oregon State and finished school a year earlier than him due to Uani’s transfer year. He’s training for a shot in the NFL as well. Counting J.J. there are four other brothers all of whom are playing football. All but J.J. are playing collegiately. Uani now hopes to join his brother in the NFL ranks and envisions an opportunity to meet him at the second level on a run play some time next season.
“I’ve always thought about that,” said ‘Unga. “In my family I’ve always been taught to just respect my elders, especially your older brothers. I’ve had a lot of disciplinary times where I was disrespectful to my older brothers and that would be perfect timing to show J.J. just what I’ve got.”
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Tags: J.J. Unga, NFL Combine, Uani 'Unga
Posted in Inside the Bills