The Polynesian Football Hall of Fame announced Tuesday five Finalists 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. University of Oregon and Tennessee Titans Quarterback Marcus Mariota was selected as the inaugural recipient of the Award in 2014, Notre Dame and Baltimore Ravens Offensive Lineman Ronnie Stanley was selected as the recipient in 2015, and University of Colorado Quarterback Sefo Liufau was selected as the recipient in 2016.
The five Finalists for 2017 include LB MANASE HUNGALU (Oregon State University), DL HERCULES MATA’AFA (Washington State University), LB ANDREW MOTUAPUAKA (Virginia Tech), LB JAHLANI TAVAI (University of Hawai`i), and DL VITA VEA (University of Washington).
The Finalists were chosen by a 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.
“With more than 500 players of Polynesian ancestry playing Division I football today, 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. “On behalf of our Board of Directors, we would like to congratulate each of this year’s finalists.”
The winner of the Polynesian College Football Player of the Year Award will be announced on December 12. The formal presentation of the Award will be held at the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame Celebration Dinner (January 19, 2018) along with being recognized during the Polynesian Bowl (January 20, 2018).