2021 POLYNESIAN COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYER OF THE YEAR AWARD FINALISTS ANNOUNCED
Honolulu, HI (December 16, 2021) – The Polynesian Football Hall of Fame announced today seven 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; former University of Oregon Offensive Tackle, and current Detroit Lions Offensive Lineman, Penei Sewell received the award in 2019; and former University of Southern California, and current San Francisco 49ers Safety, Talanoa Hufanga, and former Brigham Young University, and current New York Jets Quarterback, Zach Kapono Wilson received the award in 2020.
The seven Finalists for 2021 include QB JAYDEN DE LAURA (Washington State University), OL DANIEL FAALELE (University of Minnesota), DT HASKELL GARRETT (Ohio State University), LB NOAH SEWELL (University of Oregon), DE MIKA TAFUA (University of Utah), QB TAULIA TAGOVAILOA (University of Maryland), and RB JAYLEN WARREN (Oklahoma State University).
The Finalists were selected from a Watch List of more than 80 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, and NFL Network commentator Steve Wyche.
“The Polynesian College Football Player of the Year Award showcases the tremendous impact of our Polynesian student-athletes in college football,” said Jesse Sapolu, Chairman and Co-Founder. “We congratulate the finalists on an incredible season and look forward to following their continued success.”
The winner of the Polynesian College Football Player of the Year Award will be announced on December 22, 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).
Daniel Faalele (University of Minnesota)
Offensive Tackle … Senior … Samoan Ancestry … All-Big Ten Conference Selection … Born in Melbourne, Australia.
Haskell Garrett (Ohio State University)
Defensive Tackle … Senior … Samoan Ancestry … All-Big Ten Conference Selection … 22 tackles (12 solo) … 5.5 sacks … 2 fumble recoveries … Born in Burlington, Vermont.
Jayden de Laura (Washington State University)
Quarterback … Sophomore … Hawaiian Ancestry … Pac-12 Offensive Freshman of the Year … 220 completions … 2,751 passing yards … 23 TDs … Led Pac-12 Conference in Passing Yards and Passing TDs … 2020 Polynesian Bowl All-Star … Born in Honolulu, HI.
Noah sewell (University of Oregon)
Linebacker … Freshman … Samoan Ancestry … All-Pac-12 Conference Selection … 106 total tackles (51 solo) … 4 sacks … 2 FF … 1 INT … 2020 Polynesian Bowl All-Star … Born in Malaeimi, American Samoa.
MIKA TAFUA (University of Utah)
Defensive End … Junior … Samoan Ancestry … All-Pac-12 Conference Selection … Pac-12 leader in sacks with 9.5 … Pac-12 leader in total pressures with 74 … Born in Laie, HI.
TAULIA TAGOVAILOA (University of Maryland)
Quarterback … Junior … Samoan Ancestry … All-Big Ten Conference Selection … Set Maryland Single Season Passing Record … 308 completions … 3,595 yards passing … 24 TDs… 2019 Polynesian Bowl All-Star … Born in ‘Ewa Beach, HI.
JAYLEN WARREN (Oklahoma State University)
Running Back … Senior … Samoan & Tongan Ancestry … All-Big 12 Conference Selection … 237 carries … 1,134 yards … 11 rushing TDs … Born in Salt Lake City, UT.
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.
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, Motiv8 Foundation, Sheraton Princess Kaiulani Hotel and Riddell.