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2023 Polynesian College Football player of the Year Award Watch List


Honolulu, HI (August 17, 2023) – The Polynesian Football Hall of Fame announced today the 2023 Watchlist 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. The Watchlist is composed of 85 players from 40 different FBS schools.

“This award means so much to our people, and allows us to showcase the tremendous impact that our Polynesian student-athletes are having on the game of football,” said Jesse Sapolu, Polynesian Football Hall of Fame Chairman, Co-Founder and Inductee. “We look forward to following all of the players on their journey this season.”

The Watchlist candidates have been selected based on past performance and future potential. Additions to the list will be made as the 2023 season progresses. The finalists and winner will be chosen 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 Chief National Reporter Steve Wyche.  

The winner of the 2023 Polynesian College Football Player of the Year Award will be announced on December 14. Five finalists will be unveiled on November 30. The presentation of the Award will be held during the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Week Celebration Dinner (January 20, 2024) at the Sheraton Waikiki, and they will also be recognized at halftime of the Polynesian Bowl (January 19, 2024).

Former University of Oregon, Philadelphia Eagles QB Marcus Mariota was selected as the inaugural recipient of the Award in 2014; former University of Notre Dame, Baltimore Ravens OL Ronnie Stanley in 2015; former University of Colorado QB Sefo Liufau in 2016; former Washington State University, former Minnesota Vikings DE Hercules Mata`afa in 2017; former University of Alabama, Miami Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa in 2018 & 2019; former University of Oregon, Detroit Lions OL Penei Sewell in 2019; former University of Southern California, San Francisco 49ers Safety Talanoa Hufanga, and former Brigham Young University, New York Jets QB Zach Kapono Wilson in 2020; former DL at The Ohio State University Haskell Garrett  in 2021; and former University of Southern California, Los Angeles Chargers DL Tuli Tuipulotu in 2022.


2023 Polynesian College Football Player of the Year Watch List


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. There are currently 44 inductees. The Polynesian Football Hall of Fame has provided over $300,000 in college scholarships to date. For more information, go to 

About the Polynesian Bowl: The Polynesian Bowl is a premier all-star game played annually in Honolulu, Hawai`i that features 100 of the nation’s top ranked high school seniors of Polynesian and non-Polynesian ancestry alike – many of whom have gone on to play in the NFL. Past MVPs include top-rated players AJ Epenesa, Puka Nacua, Travis Hunter and Nico Iamaleava. The game is broadcast live and in primetime on NFL Network. Major partners include Microsoft Surface Pro, adidas, BodyArmor, Riddell, Friends of Hawai`i Charities, Hawaiian Airlines, HBCTC, Hawai`i News Now and World Wide Safety. For more information, go to