Four Ducks On Polynesian College Football Player Of The Year Watch List

HONOLULU — The Polynesian Football Hall of Fame announced the 2021 Watch List for the Polynesian College Football Player of the Year Award on Thursday.

The Award is presented annually to the most outstanding college football player of Polynesian ancestry that epitomizes great ability and integrity. The Watch List is composed of 63 players from 31 different FBS schools.

Four Oregon football players – Popo Aumavae, Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu, Mase Funa and Noah Sewell – have been named to the preseason watch list this year. The Pac-12 Conference had 23 players named to the watch list from Washington, USC, California, Utah, Arizona, and Arizona State in addition to Oregon.

Oregon is one of six schools with at least four players on the watch list.

Former University of Oregon, and current Las Vegas Raiders Quarterback, Marcus Mariota was selected as the inaugural recipient of the Award in 2014; former University of Notre Dame, and current Baltimore Ravens Offensive Lineman, Ronnie Stanley received the award in 2015; former University of Colorado Quarterback Sefo Liufau received the award in 2016; former Washington State, and current Minnesota Vikings Defensive End Hercules Mata`afa received the award in 2017; former University of Alabama Quarterback, and current Miami Dolphins Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa received the award in 2018 & 2019; former University of Oregon Offensive Tackle, and current Detroit Lions Offensive Lineman, Penei Sewell received the award in 2019; and former University of Southern California, and current San Francisco 49ers Safety, Talanoa Hufanga, and former Brigham Young University, and current New York Jets Quarterback, Zach Kapono Wilson received the award in 2020.

“The participation, prestige and excellence of Polynesian players continues to grow in college football,” said Jesse Sapolu, Polynesian Football Hall of Fame Chairman, Co-Founder and Inductee. “This award allows us to showcase the very best in our community.”

The winner of the 2021 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 21, 2022) at the Sheraton Waikiki, and they will also be recognized at halftime of the Polynesian Bowl (January 22, 2022).

The Watch List candidates have been selected based on past performance and future potential. Additions to the list may be made as the 2021 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 commentator Steve Wyche.

DT Popo Aumavae
» Has appeared in 25 games for the Ducks over the last three seasons.
» 30 career tackles, including 15 solo.
» 3.5 career sacks – all coming in 2019 – and 6.0 career tackles for loss.

OL Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu
» 2020 Coaches Pac-12 All-Conference honorable mention
» Has played in eight games for Oregon over two seasons since transferring from Navarro College.
» Started six of seven games in 2020, playing 235 snaps at right tackle and 125 at right guard.

LB Mase Funa
» 57 career tackles – 37 solo – in 21 career games for the Ducks across the last two seasons.
» 4.0 career sacks and 12.0 career tackles for loss.
» Finished third among Pac-12 freshmen in 2019 in both sacks (4.0) and TFL (8.5).

LB Noah Sewell
» 2020 Coaches Pac-12 Freshman Defensive Player of the Year
» One of two FBS true freshmen and the only in Power 5 to lead his team in tackles (45) in 2020.
» First Oregon true freshman to lead the team in tackles since Troy Dye in 2016.
» Led Pac-12 freshmen in tackles, TFLs (6.5) and sacks (2.0).
» Against Oregon State, became just the second UO freshmen since 2000 with double-digit tackles (10) and multiple TFLs (2.0) in the same game.

2021 Watch List for the Polynesian College Football Player of the Year
Feleti Afemui LB Vanderbilt
Chaz Ah You S BYU
Ulumoo Ale OL Washington
Demytrick Ali’ifua OL Utah State
Falepule Alo OL Utah State
Junior Angilau OL Texas
Popo Aumavae DL Oregon
Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu OL Oregon
Henry Bainivalu OL Washington
Chevan Cordeiro QB Hawai’i
Kekoa Crawford WR California
Daniel Faalele OL Minnesota
Lorenzo Fauatea, Jr. DL BYU
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Leif Fautanu OL UNLV
Viliami Fehoko DL San Jose State
Chuck Filiaga OL Michigan
Mase Funa DL Oregon
Haskell Garrett DL Ohio State
Kekaniokoa Gonzales OL Boise State
George Holani RB Boise State
Siaki Ika DT Baylor
Muelu Iosefa LB California
Kekaula Kaniho DB Boise State
Lopini Katoa RB BYU
Donovan Laie OL Arizona
Sataoa Laumea OL Utah
Tuli Letuligasenoa DL Washington
Kohl Levao OL Hawai’i
Jermayne Lole DL Arizona State
Tyson Maeva LB Frenso State
Ahofitu Maka OL UTSA
Alii Matau LB San Jose State
Kana’i Mauga LB USC
Simi Moala OL Utah
Viane Moala DL Utah
Manase Mose OL North Texas
Darius Muasau LB Hawai’i
Puka Nacua WR BYU
Ezekiel Noa LB Boise State
Sio Nofoagatoto’a DL Indiana
Jonah Panoke WR Hawai’i
Neil Pau’u WR BYU
Keenan Pili LB BYU
Isaiah Pola-Mao DB USC
Tennesee Pututau DL Utah
Isaac Rex LB BYU
Merlin Robertson LB Arizona State
Noah Sewell LB Oregon
Nephi Sewell LB Utah
Khalil Shakir WR Boise State
Mika Tafua DL Utah
Taulia Tagovailoa QB Maryland
Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa DE Notre Dame
Sam Taimani DL Washington
Toa Taua RB Nevada
Henry To’o To’o LB Alabama
Lawrance Toafili RB Florida State
Tuli Tuipulotu DL USC
Tama Tuitele LB Navy
Zion Tupuola-Fetui LB Washington
D.J. Uiagalelei QB Clemson
Alama Uluave OL San Diego State
Solo Vaipulu OL Hawai’i