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Mata’afa named finalist for Polynesian college football player of the year

Star pass rusher has chance to make up for Pac-12 snub

Washington State v Utah Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images

Cougar defensive end Hercules Mata’afa has named one of finalists for the Polynesian Hall of Fame College Football Player of the Year Award. The award is presented annually to the Polynesian football player who best combines ability and integrity. Last year’s winner was Colorado quarterback Sefo Liufau and previous winners include NFL top 10 ten draft picks Marcus Mariota and Ronnie Stanley.

Mata’afa was just named 1st team All Pac-12 and a lot of pundits think he was robbed of the Pac-12 defensive player of the year award. That award was given to UW’s defensive tackle Vita Vea, who coincidentally is also up for this player of the year. This could be an opportunity for Herc to make up for this perceived snub. The other three finalists are Oregon State linebacker Manase Hungalu, Virginia Tech linebacker Andrew Motuapuaka, and Hawaii linebacker Jahlani Tavai.

Based on the resumes of the finalists this should come down to Mata’afa and Vea. A selection committee including former Eagles coach Dick Vermeil, former Seahawk Kevin Mawae and ESPN broadcaster and Spokane native Neil Everett will determine the winner who will be announced on December 12.

Mata’afa is coming off of a tremendous season in which compiled 21 ½ tackles for a loss and 9 ½ sacks. He is a semifinalist for the Bednarik and Walter Camp awards.


WSU’s Hercules Mata’afa, UW’s Vita Vea named finalists for Polynesian CFB Player of the Year Award | The Seattle Times
Three of the five finalists for the award play in the Pac-12.

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A GRIP ON SPORTS • At some point we have to lose our ability to get outraged at the Pac-12’s football awards. However, we have yet to reach that point. Read on.


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