HONOLULU – The Polynesian Football Hall of Fame announced today five BYU football players have been named to the 2017 Watch List for the Polynesian College Football Player of the Year Award. The award is presented annually to the most outstanding Polynesian college football player that epitomizes great ability and integrity.
BYU’s five honorees include Tuni Kanuch, Butch Pau'u, Corbin Kaufusi, Moroni Laulu-Pututau and Francis Bernard.
“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.”
Kanuch, a senior offensive lineman, has played in 37 career games at BYU. Last season, Kanuch started nine games at guard, helping the Cougars average over 200 rushing yards per game.
Pau’u, recently named a captain for the 2017 season, posted 83 tackles last season at middle linebacker in just 10 games. He tied a BYU single-game record with 19 tackles against UCLA last year.
Kaufusi, a 6-foot-9, 285-pound defensive lineman, played his first year of college football in 2016 after coming over from the BYU basketball team. Kaufusi had 31 tackles. 2.5 sacks and blocked two kicks.
Laulu-Pututau, who converted from wideout to tight end for 2017, grabbed 27 receptions for 277 yards and two touchdowns in 2016.
Bernard, a first-year linebacker in 2016, finished third on the team with 80 total tackles. He added 5.5 tackles for loss, three interceptions, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.
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. The finalists and the winner will be chosen by the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee, which includes coaches Dick Tomey (Chairman), Ron McBride and Dick Vermeil, past NFLPA President and inaugural inductee Kevin Mawae, former NFL player and class of 2015 inductee Ray Schoenke, ESPN sportscaster Neil Everett, NFL player personnel legend Gil Brandt, NFL Network writer and commentator Steve Wyche, and Honolulu sportscaster Robert Kekaula.
About the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame
The Polynesian Football Hall of Fame honors Polynesia’s greatest players, coaches and contributors. It also serves as a resource for Polynesian football history, supports cultural and educational programs, including the awarding of nearly $200,000 in college scholarships. Founded in 2013 by Super Bowl Champions Jesse Sapolu (Chairman) and Ma’a Tanuvasa (Vice-Chairman), other board members include Troy Polamalu, Vai Sikahema, June Jones and Reno Mahe. Its permanent home is located at the Polynesian Cultural Center (Laie, Hawai`i).