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Polynesian Football Hall of Fame to recognize top college representative

By Jared Lloyd daily Herald - | Jul 23, 2014

If you follow college football, you know that July is “watch list” season.

This is when all of the major awards start publishing lists of names of players they apparently will be “watching” during the fall season.

Those lists aren’t generally very profound or even all that interesting, since once the season starts what happens on the field makes them irrelevant, but it’s still a nice little recognition for athletes for what they’ve done in the past.

It might mean something more, however, for those on the watch list for the inaugural Polynesian College Football Player of the Year Award.

The honor, which was announced Wednesday and will be awarded by the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame, not only recognizes on-field performance but also is tied to the players’ heritage and history.

The award will be given to the “the most outstanding Polynesian college football player who epitomizes great ability and integrity,” according to a statement released by the organization.

Former NFL star Jesse Sapolu, chairman and co-founder of the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame believes it will be a great way to laud what Polynesian athletes are accomplishing

“The Polynesian influence and prestige in football is at an all-time high, and rapidly expanding,” Sapolu said in the statement. “This award was established to showcase the immense talent of our Polynesian student-athletes in college football today.”

Given the impact of Polynesian football players at BYU, it’s fitting that the Cougars are tied with Hawaii and Washington for the most athletes on the initial watch list with four: Linebackers Alani Fua and Bronson Kaufusi and offensive linemen Edward Fusi and Solomone Kafu.

Utah offensive lineman Jeremiah Poutasi and Utah State safety Brian Suite were also on the watch list.

According to the statement, the watch list is composed of 34 players from 20 schools selected “based on past performance and future potential.”

Others may be added to the list as the season progresses, up until Nov. 20 when five finalists will be announced.

The official winner of the 2014 Polynesian College Football Player of the Year will be announced on Dec. 9, 2014 with the formal presentation of the award taking place during the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Weekend on Jan. 23, 2015.

The finalists and the winner will be chosen by the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee, which is composed of a number of well-known individuals including legendary former BYU head coach LaVell Edwards.

Other members include former Utah head coach Ron McBride, chairman Dick Tomey, ESPN SportsCenter anchor Neil Everett, NFL player personnel expert Gil Brandt, past NFLPA president Kevin Mawae and Hawai’i sportscaster Robert Kekaula.

“The growth and success of college football players of Polynesian ancestry has been extraordinary,” Tomey said in the statement. “This award will shine a positive light on their wonderful accomplishments.”

For more information on the award and the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame, go to www.PolynesianFootballHOF.org.

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