Hebron Fangupo is a professional football player, currently on the practice squad of the Kansas City Chiefs.
He was born on July 19, 1985, in Santa Ana, California. He played football for Mount San Antonio Junior College and Brigham Young University and was not selected in the 2012 NFL draft. He signed with the Houston Texans in 2012 where he participated in the team’s training camp. Later that year signed with the Seattle Seahawks practice squad (his USC coach was head coach). He made it to the active roster but was cut on December 20, 2012, due to linebacker shortages. Nine days later, he signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers where he stayed for the 2013 season. He was signed to the Kansas City Chiefs practice squad on September 1, 2014, but then on September 16 was signed to the Washington Redskins practice squad. He was released on September 30. In November 2014, he returned to the Chiefs practice squad. On December 31, he signed a reserve/futures contract with the Chiefs.
Although born in Orange County, California, about a month after his birth his parents moved the family back to Tonga to get away from the gangs and violence in their neighborhood. He was taught to work hard on the family farm. At age 17, his parents handed him their life savings and told him the money was for him to go to America and better his life then pave the way from his younger siblings. He lived with one of his uncles and recalls his first fast food experience:
- “I’m an island boy,” said Fangupo. “In America, you can go to a window and people will give you food. I had to hunt my food, kill my food, clean it and cook it and serve it, and then I was the last one to get to eat because I was the oldest.”
- “I remember getting off that freeway when I first arrived in America, and we stopped at a Jack In the Box. We drove up to a window. My uncle asked what I wanted to eat, and I still only spoke a little English. I asked him if there are chickens or lambs there, and he said they had hamburgers, and that hamburgers came from a cow. I had never eaten cow that was shaped in a circle before, and when I took a bite of it, let me tell you, I had hearts flying around my eyes. I fell in love right away.”
He remembers starting high school football barefoot, in rugby shorts, and a tank top. From there he played college ball at Mount San Antonio Junior College. Universities started to notice him, but he wanted to go to the University of Southern California. He wrote letters to coaches and called them, with no response. So he went to a practice by climbing the 10-foot wall surrounding the facility and told the defensive coordinator that he was going to replace Fili Moala who was moving onto the NFL. The man laughed, but the next day USC coaches came to see Fangupo practice at Mount San Antonio and a day later he was offered a full scholarship to USC.
Fangupo married and started playing for USC, but one day their apartment was broken into while his wife was in the home. She wanted to move, so he finished his season with USC and they moved to Provo, Utah, where he played for BYU.
Fangupo and his wife, Rebekah, are the parents of two children. They are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Fangupo served a full-time mission to the Philippines.