Utes and Cougar among inaugural Polynesian Hall of Fame finalists

Published: Wednesday, Sept. 11 2013 9:20 p.m. MDT

BYU HOLIDAY BOWL 1984 Brigham Young University players celebrate after recovering a Michigan fumble in the second quarter of Holiday Bowl in San Diego, on Friday, Dec. 21, 1984. BYU players Kurt Gouveia (34), Kyle Morrell (5), and Larry Hamilton (79). (AP Photo)

, Associated Press

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.

PLAYER FINALISTS

George Achica (DT) USC, Pro: NFL (IND) & USFL 3 years, Samoan ancestry

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 dharmon@desnews.com.

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