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Two Wildcats Drafted by NFL Teams
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 04/22/2001
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University of Arizona players Brandon Manumaleuna and Joe Tafoya were selected Sunday in the National Football League draft.

Manumaleuna, a 6-foot-1, 280-pound tight end from Torrance, Calif., was the 34th pick in the fourth round by St. Louis, becoming the 129th overall selection. He'll join former UA running back Trung Canidate with the Rams.

Manumaleuna played four years for the Wildcats, including the 1997 season as a true freshman defensive end and tight end. As a sophomore he caught six passes for 22 yards, then emerged as a junior with 20 receptions for 316 yards and two touchdowns, earning second-team All-Pac-10 honors.

As a senior last year, Manumaleuna caught 13 passes for 161 yards and a touchdown to give him 49 career catches for 499 yards and three scores. He also had two receptions on two-point PAT conversions as a junior in 1999.

Tafoya, a 6-foot-4, 270-pound defensive end, was the 34th pick in the seventh and final round of the draft, the 234th overall selection, by the Tampa Bay Bucaneers, where he could join former UA offensive lineman Frank Middleton.

Tafoya redshirted as a freshman in 1996 then became a regular half way through the next season. He was Arizona's Most Valuable Player and a team captain in 2000, when he led the team with 18 tackles for loss and six sacks.

He had 14 tackles for loss and led the team with 10 sacks as a junior in 1999, playing as an interior tackle. Most observers feel his professional future would be as an edge rusher, where he played exclusively in his sophomore and junior seasons.

Tafoya was a second-team All-Pac-10 honoree in 2000 and played in the East-West Shrine Game. Manumaleuna earned honorable mention honors his senior year.

Several Wildcats are expected to negotiate for free agent tryouts with NFL or other pro leagues including quarterback Ortege Jenkins, center Bruce Wiggins, defensive end Idris Haroon, linebacker Antonio Pierce and offensive lineman Marques McFadden.

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