SI, Sporting News, ESPN, the Associated Press, the Walter Camp Foundation and the Football Writers Association of America have all honored Hercules Mata’afa this offseason by putting him on their All-America teams. But Tuesday, the defensive lineman got what might be the most special award yet.
Mata’afa, a native of Lahaina, Hawaii, has been named the Polynesian College Football Player of the Year by the Polynesian Hall of Fame. According to WSU’s release, the award recognizes the “most outstanding Polynesian college football player that epitomizes great ability and integrity.”
Mata’afa is just the fourth player to ever win the award, following Marcus Mariota in 2014, Ronnie Stanley in 2015 and Sefo Liufau in 2016.
Mata’afa took to Twitter to give his reaction to winning the award:
WATCH: Special acceptance video by @WSUCougars DL Hercules Mata'afa after being named the 2017 Polynesian College Football Player of the Year. @herculesuluao50 @wsucougfb @PapaThrow pic.twitter.com/tTstr0YYVJ— Polynesian Football (@PolynesianFBHOF) December 12, 2017
The Pac-12’s leader in both tackles for loss (21.5) sacks (9.5) started all 12 games for the Cougars this season. He beat out Oregon State linebacker Manase Hungalu, Washington defensive lineman Vita Vea, Virginia Tech linebacker Andrew Motuapuaka and Hawaii linebacker Jahlani Tavai for the honor this season. Mata’afa will officially accept the award during the Polynesian Bowl on January 20 in Oahu, Hawaii.
Washington State defensive tackle Hercules Mata’afa named Polynesian Player of the Year | The Spokesman-Review
Mata’afa, a native of Lahaina, Hawaii, earned Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year honors from the Associated Press and led the conference in both tackles-for-loss (21.5) and quarterback sacks (9.5). The junior defensive tackle has been named a first team All-American by both the Walter Camp Foundation and Associated Press.
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