It’s not particularly surprising that David Fangupo is a Division I college football recruit. After all, the Kailua-Kona (Hi.) Kealakehe High senior stands 6-foot-2 and roughly 350 pounds … before a big meal. What is surprising is that he is expected to play running back starting next year at his home state’s largest university, with Fangupo agreeing to sign a national letter of intent with Hawaii once he is academically cleared to do so.
Yet, as the video above shows, there’s a reason why Fangupo was recruited as a running back. The big beefy teen can really move once he gets through the line of scrimmage. Like a supersized Jerome Bettis, once Fangupo gets going downhill, he’s just not going to be brought down.
As a senior, Fangupo rushed for 538 yards and 10 touchdowns, showing a sense of agility not usually found in 350 pounders on the line, let alone coming out of the backfield while leading Kealakehe to a 10-2 record and Big Island Interscholastic Federation championship. If you're curious to see what happens when a much smaller defensive back tries to stop Fangupo when he nears the end zone, just check out this quick highlight.
“I felt like it was not real at the moment,” Fangupo told West Hawaii today. “I’m excited and feel blessed that [Hawaii would offer Fangupo a scholarship].
“It’s just pretty much playing for my home team and family and being around people I know. It goes from going to home [on the Big Island] to home again. All the support from my family is still there.”
Fangupo isn’t the first enormous running back to earn a scholarship from a major program, with former Texas running back turned Bears defensive tackle Henry Melton perhaps the best example of a star prep rusher who was recruited for his size. Melton spent two years as a part time running back at Texas before transitioning to the defensive line, where he became an all-conference selection as a defensive end en route to being selected in the fourth round by the Bears.
Yet Fangupo is much bigger than Melton was in college, by about 90 pounds (he's some 55 pounds heavier than Melton currently is as a pro, as well). The Hawaiian native has said that he is open to switching positions if Hawaii coach Norm Chow deems that is his best use. That being said, the running back is clearly excited about the different things he could bring to Chow’s explosive offense. His high school coach said there was little question that Fangupo would have a major impact at Hawaii, no matter where he lines up.
“He was an impact player on the football field for his size and athleticism,” Kealakehe coach Sam Papalii told West Hawaii Today. “Aside from his physical attributes, he was well-liked. He was charismatic, and the players gravitated toward him.”