Kene Nwangwu Kansas

Iowa State running back Kene Nwangwu runs for a touchdown past Kansas safety Kenny Logan Jr. during the first half against Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas, on Oct. 31. 

Kene Nwangwu waited his turn. And now, his NFL hopes have become reality.

The former Iowa State running back was selected by the Minnesota Vikings in the fourth round with 119th pick of the 2021 NFL Draft on Saturday.

Nwangwu's selection marks the first Iowa State draft pick since former Cyclone wide receiver Hakeem Butler was taken with the 103rd pick in the fourth round by Arizona Cardinals in the 2019 NFL Draft.

The six-foot-one Nwangwu became the first Iowa State running back taken since David Montgomery was taken in the third round when the Chicago Bears took the Iowa State-great 73rd overall in 2019.

"Kene was among a unique group of seniors who were really special," Iowa State head football coach Matt Campbell said in a press release. "Kene has been through so much here at Iowa State. He had a great start to his career and then he tears his Achilles. It was a long tough road back for him and it wasn't easy. To watch his leadership grow, see what he has done for our football program, and today, to see him get drafted, I am so thrilled for him."

The last time Iowa State has had running backs taken within two years of each other? You have to go back to the '70s.

In the 1973 NFL Draft, George Amundson was selected in the first round with the 14th overall pick by the Tennessee Titans. Two years later, Mike Strachan was taken in the ninth round by the New Orleans Saints with the 216th pick.

Jump back to Nwangwu's 2020 and it was one for the history books. The 212-pound tailback ranked third in the Big 12 and seventh nationally (minimum of 10 returns) in kickoff return average at 28.9, ranking second on Iowa State’s season record list.

His Pro Day didn't hurt either. Nwangwu ran an unofficial 4.31 40-yard dash.

He ranks third all-time in Big 12 history with 2,470 kick-return yards. 

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