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Mata’afa, Ekuale named to Polynesian watch list

UPDATED: Thu., Aug. 10, 2017, 10:28 a.m.

Washington State Cougars defensive lineman Hercules Mata'afa (50) reacts after sacking Oregon Ducks quarterback Dakota Prukop (9) for a safety during the second half of a college football game on Saturday, Oct 1, 2016, at Martin Stadium in Pullman, Wash. WSU won the game 51-33. 

TYLER TJOMSLAND tylert@spokesman.com (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
Washington State Cougars defensive lineman Hercules Mata'afa (50) reacts after sacking Oregon Ducks quarterback Dakota Prukop (9) for a safety during the second half of a college football game on Saturday, Oct 1, 2016, at Martin Stadium in Pullman, Wash. WSU won the game 51-33. TYLER TJOMSLAND tylert@spokesman.com (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)

Washington State defensive line standouts Hercules Mata’afa and Daniel Ekuale were named Thursday morning to the 2017 Polynesian College Player of the Year Award watch list.

The award is presented annually to “the most outstanding Polynesian college football player that epitomizes great ability and integrity.”

Mata’afa, from Lahaina, Hawaii, is the Pac-12 Conference’s top-graded defensive returner according to Pro Football Focus and was named All-Pac-12 Second Team in 2016 as a sophomore. Mata’afa was also included on the Polynesian Watch List last season.

Ekuale, like a handful of Cougars over the years, came to Pullman from Pago Pago, American Samoa, and is expected to start next to Mata’afa at nose tackle for the Cougars. The 6-3, 305-pound redshirt senior appeared in all 13 games last season and started nine times. Ekuale had 23 tackles, 2.5 for loss and one sack as a junior.

Of the 48 players included on the Polynesian watch list, 14 hail from the Pac-12.


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