LARAMIE, Wyo. — The Polynesian Football Hall of Fame has announced its 2023 Watch List for the Polynesian College Football Player of the Year Award, and two Wyoming Cowboys have been named to the list. Junior linebacker Shae Suiaunoa and junior center Nofoafia Tulafono are both among this year’s candidates.
The award is presented annually to the most outstanding college football player of Polynesian ancestry. The watch list features 85 players from 41 FBS teams.
“This award means so much to our people, and allows us to showcase the tremendous impact that our Polynesian student-athletes are having on the game of football,” said Jesse Sapolu, Polynesian Football Hall of Fame chairman and co-founder. “We look forward to following all of the players on their journey this season.”
Suiaunoa started all 13 games at weak-side linebacker for Wyoming during his sophomore season in 2022. The Houston, Texas, native was second on the Cowboy team in tackles with 70. Suiaunoa was named the Mountain West Conference Defensive Player of the Week for his performance against Northern Colorado, and he was recently named to the 2023 Preseason All-Mountain West Third Team by Phil Steele and Preseason All-MW Fourth Team by Athlon Sports.
Tulafono started every game at center for the Cowboys as a sophomore in 2022. At the conclusion of the season, the native of Victorville, California, was named Second Team All-Mountain West by Pro Football Focus. Entering the 2023 season, Tulafono was named to the Preseason All-Mountain West Second Team by Athlon Sports.
The winner of the 2023 Polynesian College Football Player of the Year Award will be announced Dec. 14.