Follows in footsteps of his famous brother "Touchdown" Tim Biakabutuka
September 24, 2007

Rémi Biakabutuka

Gridiron greatness runs in the family
Biakabutuka 5th brother to suit up for Vanier
By Arpon Basu, Freelance

(Originally printed in Gazette of September 19, 2007)

When you're the youngest of seven children and all four of your older brothers played football, with one making it all the way to the NFL, it would appear to be a given that you would be dying to strap on the pads and follow in their footsteps.

But that wasn't the case for Rémi Biakabutuka.

Biakabutuka was only 4 years old when his brother, Tim, left home for the University of Michigan before moving on to a six-year career at running back with the Carolina Panthers.

Tim Biakabutuka used Vanier College as his launching pad to the world of big-time U.S. college football, and his three younger brothers Beya, Joseph and Elie followed him to the St. Laurent football factory.

But when it came time for Rémi Biakabutuka to choose a high school, football was more of an afterthought.

"At first, I didn't want to play football," he said at his family's Boucherville home. "It didn't really interest me."

Rémi Biakabutuka has sparked the Cheetahs'
offence this season, running 52 times for 192
yards and scoring a league-high two touchdowns.

Biakabutuka's mother, Marceline Misenga, had first-hand knowledge of what kinds of doors football can open for a young man educationally, and she encouraged her youngest child to at least give the sport a shot.

It only took one hour before Biakabutuka was sold.

"As soon as I put on my helmet and pads, I loved it," he said. "I loved the contact, the strategy, everything. I was hooked."

After spending his first year on the bench at Longueuil's École secondaire Jacques Rousseau, Biakabutuka excelled at running back in Grade 8 and decided he would give football everything he had.

"The example my brother gave me, that if I work hard I can get really far, that helped," he said. "I saw how it can open doors for you, at least in terms of an education, so I decided to go for it. It became more of a lifestyle than a sport."

Biakabutuka became the fifth member of his family to suit up at Vanier last season, but he spent most of it watching from the sidelines as his team rolled to the Bol d'Or title.

During the game VS F.X. Garneau on September 15th, it takes two of the opposing defenders to bring down the hard-charging Rémi Biakabutuka

This year, however, Biakabutuka has been the offensive engine for Vanier - the only undefeated team in the provincial AAA collegiate football league with a 3-0 record - rushing for 192 yards on a whopping 52 carries with a league-high two touchdowns.

Coach Chryssomalis

"He's been the sparkplug for us," said Vanier head coach Peter Chryssomalis.

As opposed to his older brother Tim, who was a bruising, north-south kind of runner, Rémi Biakabutuka likes to make would-be tacklers miss, and he's been doing a lot of that this season. He hopes to use those talents to land a scholarship in the US, but first he wants to enjoy his time at Vanier.

"I hear everyone say how they want to make the NFL, but I want to take it step by step and just studying in the States would be great," Rémi said. "But for now, I want to concentrate on my studies, my training and having fun with my team."

© The Gazette (Montreal) 2007

Rémi churns up the yardage VS Lennoxville Cougars on September 1st

Read all about Rémi's brother Tshimanga Biakabutuka and his exploits in a career
that led all the way from Vanier Cheetahs to the Carolina Panthers in the NFL