Local Players Named Finalists For Polynesian Player Of The Year Award

Dec 16, 2021, 12:52 PM | Updated: 2:36 pm
Mika Tafua - Utah Utes...
Utah Utes defensive end Mika Tafua (42) celebrates after getting a sack on Colorado Buffaloes quarterback Steven Montez, not pictured, during the first half of an NCAA football game at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Nov. 30, 2019. Courtesy of Deseret News.

SALT LAKE CITY – The Polynesian College Football Hall of Fame announced a pair of local players as finalists for the 2021 Polynesian College Football Player of the Year Award on Thursday, Dec. 16.

University of Utah junior defensive end Mika Tafua, former Orem Tigers linebacker Noah Sewell, and former East Leopards running back Jaylen Warren were each named as finalists.

Tafua earned first team All-Pac-12 honors, his third time being named All-Pac-12. He currently leads the conference with 9.5 sacks. Tafua also leads the Utes defensive line with 48 tackles, including 13 TFL this year.

Sewell, an Orem High graduate and brother of Ute linebacker Nephi Sewell, was named to the Coaches Pac-12 All-Conference first team, PFF All-Pac-12 second team and two-time Pac-12 Freshman of the Week during the 2021 season.

After playing for Utah State from 2019-20, Warren transferred to Oklahoma State. During his first season with the Cowboys, the Salt Lake City native ran the ball 237 times for 1,134 yards and 11 touchdowns.

The Polynesian College Football Player of the Year Award is presented annually to the most outstanding college football player of Polynesian ancestry that epitomizes great ability and integrity.

Previous winners of the award include Oregon QB Marcus Mariota, Notre Dame OL Ronnie Stanley, Colorado QB Sefo Liufua, Washington State DE Hercules Mata’afa, Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa, Oregon OT Penei Sewell, Southern California S Talanoa Hufanga and Brigham Young QB Zach Kapono Wilson.

The winner will be announced on Wednesday, Dec. 22.

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