POLYNESIAN COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYER OF THE YEAR AWARD FINALISTS ANNOUNCED
Honolulu, HI (January 6, 2021) – The Polynesian Football Hall of Fame announced today five Finalists for the Polynesian College Football Player of the Year Award. The Award is presented annually to the most outstanding college football player of Polynesian ancestry that epitomizes great ability and integrity.
Former University of Oregon, and current Las Vegas Raiders 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; former University of Colorado Quarterback Sefo Liufau received the award in 2016; former Washington State, and current Minnesota Vikings Defensive End Hercules Mata`afa received the award in 2017; former University of Alabama Quarterback, and current Miami Dolphins Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa received the award in 2018 & 2019; and University of Oregon Offensive Tackle Penei Sewell received the award in 2019.
The five Finalists for 2020 include DT HASKELL GARRETT (Ohio State University), S TALANOA HUFANGA (University of Southern California), LB DARIUS MUASAU (University of Hawaiʻi), WR KHALIL SHAKIR (Boise State University) and QB ZACH KAPONO WILSON (Brigham Young University).
The Finalists were selected from a Watch List of more than 60 players by the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee, which includes former NFL Player and Inaugural Inductee Jack "The Throwin' Samoan" Thompson (Chairman), Coaches Ron McBride and Dick Vermeil, former NFL Player and Inaugural Inductee Olin Kreutz, Inaugural Inductee and past NFLPA president Kevin Mawae, former NFL Player and Class of 2015 Inductee Ray Schoenke, ESPN Sportscaster Neil Everett, NFL Network commentator Steve Wyche, and Honolulu Sportscaster Robert Kekaula.
“The Polynesian College Football Player of the Year Award allows us to showcase the tremendous impact of our Polynesian student-athletes,” said Jesse Sapolu, Chairman and Co-Founder. “We congratulate the finalists on an incredible season and look forward to celebrating their success.”
The winner of the Polynesian College Football Player of the Year Award will be announced on January 12, 2021. The formal presentation of the Award will be held at the 2022 Polynesian Football Hall of Fame Celebration Dinner (January 21, 2022), along with being recognized during the 2022 Polynesian Bowl (January 22, 2022).
POLYNESIAN COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYER OF THE YEAR FINALISTS
HASKELL GARRETT (Ohio State University)
Defensive Tackle … Senior … Samoan Ancestry … All-Big Ten Conference Selection … 17 tackles (10 solo) … 2 sacks … 1 INT … Born in Burlington, Vermont.
TALANOA HUFANGA (University of Southern California)
Safety … Sophomore … Tongan Ancestry … AP All-American Selection… All-Pac-12 Conference Selection … Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year … 62 tackles (40 solo) … 3 sacks … 4 INT … 2 forced fumbles … 2018 Polynesian Bowl All-Star … Inaugural (2018) Polynesian Football Hall of Fame High School Player of the Year … Born in Corvallis, Oregon.
DARIUS MUASAU (University of Hawaiʻi)
Linebacker … Sophomore … Samoan Ancestry … All-Mountain West Conference Selection … 102 tackles (66 solo) … 4.5 sacks … 1 INT … 2019 Polynesian Bowl All-Star … Born in San Diego, California.
KHALIL SHAKIR (Boise State University)
Wide Reciever … Junior … Samoan & Tongan Ancestry … All-Mountain West Conference Selection … 52 Receptions … 719 receiving yards … 6 TDs … 2018 Polynesian Bowl All-Star … Born in Murrieta, California.
ZACH KAPONO WILSON (Brigham Young University)
Quarterback … Junior… Hawaiian Ancestry … Completed 247 of 336 passes for 3,692 passing yards … 33 passing touchdowns … 70 carries for 254 rushing yards … 10 rushing touchdowns … Born in Draper, Utah.
About the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame: The Polynesian Football Hall of Fame honors Polynesia’s greatest players, coaches and contributors. Its permanent home is located at the Polynesian Cultural Center and was established in 2013 by Super Bowl Champions Jesse Sapolu and Ma’a Tanuvasa. Other board members include Troy Polamalu, Vai Sikahema, June Jones and Reno Mahe. www.PolynesianFootballHOF.org.
About the Polynesian Bowl: The Polynesian Bowl is held annually during the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Week and is televised LIVE on CBS Sports Network. Major sponsors include adidas, BodyArmor, CrossCountry Mortgage, Friends of Hawai’i Charities, Hawaiian Airlines, Hawaii Building & Construction Trades Council, Hawai’i News Now, Hawai’i Tourism Authority, Sheraton Princess Kaiulani Hotel and Riddell.