WSU has two named to Polynesian Player of Year watch list - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

WSU has two named to Polynesian Player of Year watch list

Courtesy: WSU Athletics Courtesy: WSU Athletics

By Washington State Athletics

HONOLULU – Washington State defensive lineman Daniel Ekuale and Hercules Mata'afa were both named to the 2017 Polynesian College Football Player of the Year Award Watch List, the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame announced Thursday.

Ekuale and Mata'afa are among the 48 players named to the watch list for the award presented annually to the most outstanding Polynesian college football player that epitomizes great ability and integrity.

Ekuale, a native of Pago Pago, American Samoa, appeared in all 13 games on the defensive line last season and recorded 23 tackles including 2.5 for loss with one sack. The redshirt-senior has played in 38 games in the last three seasons and tallied 10.5 tackles for loss including a pair of sacks.

Mata'afa, a native of Lahaina, Hawaii, earned All-Pac-12 second team honors last season after finishing fifth in the league with 13.5 tackles including a team-high five sacks. The redshirt-junior enters the 2017 season with 24.5 career tackles-for-loss, second-most among active Pac-12 players. Earlier this summer, Mata'afa was named to the Bronco Nagurski Trophy watch list, given to the nation's Defensive Player of the Year and the Bednarik Award watch list (given to the country's top defensive player).

The winner of the 2017 Polynesian College Football Player of the Year Award will be announced on December 14, 2017. Five finalists will be unveiled on November 30. The presentation of the award will be held at the Celebration Dinner during the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Weekend on January 21, 2018 in Honolulu, Hawaii.

"The Polynesian College Football Player of the Year Award has quickly become one of the most prestigious awards in college football," said Jesse Sapolu, Chairman and Co-Founder. "More than 500 players of Polynesian ancestry are playing Division I football today."

The Watch List candidates have been selected based on past performance and future potential. Additions to the list may be made as the 2017-18 season progresses.  

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