Some of the most storied college football players from the University of Utah and BYU have been named as finalists for the inaugural class of the new Polynesian Football Hall of Fame, whose induction ceremonies will be Jan. 23, 2014 prior to the Super Bowl.
Former Utah defensive tackles Ma’ake Tu’amelie Kemoeatu and Luther John Elliss join former BYU linebacker Kurt Keola Gouveia and 22 others of Polynesian descent, including ASU’s Junior Ah You and the late Junior Seau, as finalists.
The finalists were selected from a field of more than 100 nominees by a selection committee comprised of former college head football coaches Dick Tomey, LaVell Edwards and Ron McBride; ESPN sportscaster Neil Everett; NFL player personnel expert Gil Brandt; and Honolulu sportscaster Robert Kekaula.
“The selection committee is as notable and recognizable in coaching, media and player personnel as you can get. They have a unique perspective, appreciation and understanding of Polynesia’s contribution to the game,” said Vai Sikahema, a former BYU star and member of the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame's board of directors.
Seven of the 25 will be announced as inductees Oct. 9.
Junior Ah You (DE) Arizona State, Pro: CFL & USFL 12 years, Samoan ancestry
Bob Apisa (FB/HB) Michigan State, Pro: NFL (GB) 1 year, Samoan ancestry
Charles "Charlie" Teetai Ane, Jr. (OL) USC, Pro: NFL (DET) 6 years, Samoan ancestry
Herman “Buddy” Piikea Clark (RB) Oregon State, Pro: NFL (CHI) 4 years, Hawaiian ancestry
Riki Morgan Ellison (LB) USC, Pro: NFL (SF, OAK) 8 years, Maori ancestry
Luther John Elliss (DT) Utah, Pro: NFL (DET, DEN) 9 years, Samoan ancestry
Rockne Crowningburg Freitas (OL) Oregon State, Pro: NFL (DET, TB) 10 years, Hawaiian ancestry
Kurt Keola Gouveia (LB) BYU, Pro: NFL (WAS, PHI, SD) 13 years, Hawaiian ancestry
Ma'ake Tu'amelie Kemoeatu (DT)Utah, Pro: NFL (BAL, CAR, WAS) 11 years, Tongan ancestry
Olin George Kreutz (C) Washington, Pro: NFL (CHI, NO) 14 years, Hawaiian ancestry
Kevin James Mawae (C) LSU, Pro: NFL (SEA, NYJ, TEN) 18 years, Hawaiian ancestry
Alapati “Al” Noga(DL) Hawaii, Pro: NFL (MIN, WAS, IND) 6 years, Samoan ancestry
Tiaina Baul “Junior” Seau, Jr. (LB) USC, Pro: NFL (SD, NE, MIA) 20 years, Samoan ancestry
Ray Frederick Schoenke (OT/OG) SMU, Pro: NFL (DAL, WAS) 12 years, Hawaiian ancestry
Mosiula “Mosi” Faasuka Tatupu (RB/KR) USC, Pro: NFL (NE, STL) 14 years, Samoan ancestry
Jack Thompson (QB) Washington State, Pro: NFL (CIN, TB) 6 years, Samoan ancestry
Manu'ula “Manu” Asovalu Tuiasosopo (DL) UCLA, Pro: NFL (SEA, SF) 7 years, Samoan ancestry
Mark Pulemau Tuinei (OT) Hawaii, Pro: NFL (DAL, NE, MIA) 15 years, Samoan ancestry
Herman John Wedemeyer (HB) St. Mary’s College, Pro: AAFL (Dons, BAL) 2 years, Hawaiian ancestry
COACH & CONTRIBUTOR FINALISTS
Thomas Ka’auwai Ka’ulukukui, Former Head football Coach at University of Hawaii, Hawaiian ancestry
Albert “Al” Lolotai (OL) Weber JC, Pro: NFL (WAS), AAFL (Dons), 4 years, Samoan ancestry
John Manumaleuna, Contributor, Southern California Advocate for Polynesian Youth, Samoan ancestry
Ken Niumatalolo, Head Football Coach at United States Naval Academy, Samoan ancestry
Charlie Wedemeyer, Former Head Football Coach, Los Gatos High School (CA), Hawaiian ancestry
Dick Harmon, Deseret News sports columnist, can be found on Twitter as Harmonwrites and can be contacted at email@example.com.