The 2017 Polynesian Football Hall of Fame

College Player of the Year is

Sefo Liufau


The Polynesian Football Hall of Fame announced its five Polynesian College Football Player of the Year Award Finalists on November 22. They present the annual award to the most outstanding Polynesian college football player who epitomizes great ability and integrity.

University of Oregon and Tennessee Titans Quarterback Marcus Mariota was selected as the inaugural recipient of the award in 2014, followed by University of Notre Dame and Baltimore Ravens Offensive Lineman Ronnie Stanley in 2015. Both attended induction ceremonies at the PFHOF permanent home near the entrance of the Polynesian Cultural Center.

The five 2016 college player finalists include:


  • Te Cole Hikutini (Tahitian), University of Louisville TE: 42 catches for 556 receiving yards on the season, seven receiving TDs, ranked #5 in the nation for receiving yards among Tight Ends.
  • Sefo Liufau (Samoan), University of Colorado Boulder QB: : Completed 156 of 233 Pass Attempts (67%) on the season, 1,880 passing yards with 10 passing TDs, 146.3 passer rating on the season, 424 rushing yards with six rushing TDs.
  • Lowell Lotulelei (Tongan), University of Utah DT: 24 tackles on the season, three sacks.
  • Kai Nacua (Hawaiian/Samoan), BYU DB: 41 tackles on the season, five interceptions, one forced fumble; ranked #6 in the nation in interceptions.
  • And JuJu Smith-Schuster (Samoan) USC WR: 59 catches for 758 receiving yards on the season, eight receiving TDs, ranked #4 in the Pac-12 Conference in total receiving yards, ranked #5 in the Pac-12 Conference in TD receptions.

The winner of the Polynesian College Football Player of the Year Award will be announced on December 8.

The Finalists were chosen by a selection committee composed of past head football coaches Dick Tomey (Chairman), LaVell Edwards, Ron McBride and Dick Vermeil, ESPN SportsCenter anchor Neil Everett, NFL player personnel expert Gil Brandt, past NFL Players Association president Kevin Mawae (Polynesian Football HOF Inaugural Inductee) and Hawaii sportscaster Robert Kekaula.

“On behalf of the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee, we congratulate this year’s Finalists,” Tomey said. “Each of these Student-Athletes has had an incredible season.”

Program Schedule

Enshrinement program at PCC: Both the player of the year and the Class of 2017 inductees will participate in the enshrinement ceremony at the Polynesian Cultural Center on Saturday, January 21, 2017, starting at 12 p.m. in the Hawaiian Journey Theater. Call the PCC Reservations Office at 808-293-3333 or toll-free 1-800-367-7060 for ticket information.

An autograph session at 1:30 p.m. will take place immediately after, followed by the inductee canoe parade at 2:30 p.m.

Later that evening, the PFHOF-sponsored Polynesian Bowl high school all-star game will be played Saturday, January 21, 2017 at 6 p.m. in the Aloha Stadium. For more information, visit www.PolynesianBowl.com.

Story and images by Mike Foley

mike_foley Mike Foley, who has worked off-and-on

at the Polynesian Cultural Center since

1968,  has been a full-time freelance

writer and digital media specialist since

2002, and had a long career in marketing

communications and PR before that. He

learned to speak fluent Samoan as a

Mormon missionary before moving to Laie

in 1967 — still does, and he has traveled

extensively over the years throughout

Polynesia and other Pacific islands. Foley

is mostly retired now, but continues to

contribute to various PCC and other media.