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Polynesian Football Hall of Fame Announces 2017 Polynesian College Player of the Year Award Watch List

At a glance: 

  • Award to be presented to the most outstanding college football player of Polynesian Ancestry.
  • Watch List is composed of 48 players from 30 different FBS schools.
  • Players per Conference: Mountain West (15), Pac-12 (14), Big-12 (3), Mid-American (3), SEC (2), Big 10 (2), ACC (1), American Athletic (1), Conference USA (1) and Independent (6). 

Honolulu, HI (August 10, 2017) – The Polynesian Football Hall of Fame announced today the 2017 Watch List for the Polynesian College Football Player of the Year Award.  The award is presented annually to the most outstanding Polynesian college football player that epitomizes great ability and integrity. 

Former University of Oregon, and current Tennessee Titans Quarterback, Marcus Mariota was selected as the inaugural recipient of the Award in 2014; former University of Notre Dame, and current Baltimore Ravens Offensive Lineman, Ronnie Stanley received the award in 2015; and University of Colorado at Boulder, and current Tampa Bay Buccaneers Quarterback Sefo Liufau received the award last year.

The winner of the 2017 Polynesian College Football Player of the Year Award will be announced on December 14, 2017.  Five finalists will be unveiled on November 30.  The presentation of the award will be held at the Celebration Dinner during the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Weekend on January 19, 2018 in Honolulu, Hawai’i.

“The Polynesian College Football Player of the Year Award has become one of the most prestigious awards in college football,” said Jesse Sapolu, Chairman and Co-Founder.  “More than 500 players of Polynesian ancestry are playing Division I football today.”

The Watch List candidates have been selected based on past performance and future potential. Additions to the list may be made as the 2017-2018 season progresses. The finalists and the winner will be chosen by the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee, which includes Coaches Dick Tomey (Chairman), Ron McBride and Dick Vermeil, past NFLPA President and Inaugural Inductee Kevin Mawae, former NFL Player and Class of 2015 Inductee Ray Schoenke, ESPN Sportscaster Neil Everett, NFL player personnel legend Gil Brandt, NFL Network writer and commentator Steve Wyche, and Honolulu Sportscaster Robert Kekaula.

First Name Last Name School Position Class
Cleon Aloese Ohio University DL Senior
Sean Auwae-McMoore Vanderbilt C RS Freshman
Francis Bernard BYU LB Junior
Daniel Ekuale Washington State DL Senior
Asotui Eli Hawaii OL Junior
Alohi Gilman Notre Dame S Sophomore
Manase Hungalu Oregon State LB Senior
Tuni Kanuch BYU OL Senior
Corbin Kaufusi BYU DL Junior
Meffy Koloamatangi Hawaii DL Senior
Jeremiah Kolone San Jose State OG Senior
Ronley Lakalaka San Diego State LB Junior
Moroni Laulu-Pututau BYU TE Junior
Gus Lavaka Oregon State OL Sophomore
Nifae Lealao Vanderbilt DL Senior
Jimmy Leatiota Eastern Michigan OL Sophomore
Ray Lima Iowa State DL Sophomore
Toa Lobendahn USC OL Senior
Lowell Lotulelei Utah DL Senior
Kavika Luafatasaga Utah LB Senior
Vavae Malepeai USC RB RS Freshman
Brandon Manosalvas Buffalo  OL Sophomore
Hercules Mata’afa Washington State DL Junior
David Moa Boise State DT Junior
Viane Moala Hawaii DL Sophomore
Filipo Mokofisi Utah DL Senior
Bryan Mone Michigan DL Senior
Andrew Motuapuaka Virginia Tech LB Senior
Nela Otukolo Fresno State LB Junior
Butch Pau'u BYU LB Junior
Jarvis Polu Navy DL Junior
Justin Polu UNLV OL Sophomore
Olive Sagapolu Wisconsin DL Junior
Dru Samia Oklahoma OL Junior
Gabriel Sewell Nevada LB Sophomore
Viane Talamaivao USC OL Senior
Josiah Tauaefa UTSA LB Sophomore
Sunia Tauteoli Utah LB Junior
Jahlani Tavai Hawaii LB Junior
Keoni Taylor San Jose State C Senior
Justus Te'i Utah State LB Sophomore
Ian Togiai Utah State DL Senior
Jacob Tuioti-Mariner UCLA DL Senior
Salesi Uhatafe Utah OL Senior
Metuisela `Unga Hawaii TE Senior
John Ursua Hawaii WR Sophomore
Patrick Vahe Texas OL Junior
Vita Vea Washington DL Senior

About the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame

The Polynesian Football Hall of Fame honors Polynesia’s greatest players, coaches and contributors.  It also serves as a resource for Polynesian football history, supports cultural and educational programs, including the award of nearly $200,000 in college scholarships.  Founded in 2013 by Super Bowl Champions Jesse Sapolu (Chairman) and Ma’a Tanuvasa (Vice-Chairman), other board members include Troy Polamalu, Vai Sikahema, June Jones and Reno Mahe.  Its permanent home is located at the Polynesian Cultural Center (Laie, Hawai`i). 

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