Utah State senior defensive end Ian Togiai and sophomore linebacker Justus Te’i were named to the 2017 Watch List for the Polynesian College Football Player of the Year Award, it was announced by the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame on Thursday.

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

Togiai and Te’i are two of the 12 players from Utah and two of 15 players from the Mountain West on the 48-player watch list.

Togiai is also a preseason second-team all-Mountain West selection and a preseason third-team all-MW selection by Athlon Sports and College Sports Madness, while Te’i is a preseason fourth-team all-MW selection by Phil Steele.

The 6-foot-2, 280-pound Togiai started five games as a junior and finished the season with 384 tackles, including 2.0 sacks and 3.0 tackles for loss. His 38 tackles ranked second on the team among defensive lineman.

For his career, Togiai has started nine of the 38 games he has played in. He has tallied 51 total tackles, including 2.0 sacks and 3.5 tackles for loss.

The 6-3, 240-pound Te’i started four of the 12 games he played in a year ago as a true freshman and finished the season with 15 tackles, which included 1.5 sacks and 2.0 tackles for loss, while adding one pass breakup.

The winner of the 2017 Polynesian College Player of the Year Award will be announced on Dec. 14. Five finalists will be unveiled on Nov. 30. The award presentation will be held at the Celebration Dinner during the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Weekend on January 21, 2018.

Former Oregon and current Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota was selected as the inaugural recipient of the award in 2014. Former Notre Dame and current Baltimore Ravens offensive lineman Ronnie Stanley received the award in 2015, and former Colorado and current Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Sefo Liufau received the award last year.

The Watch List candidates have been selected based on past performance and future potential. Additions to the list may be made as the 2017-18 season progresses. The finalists and the winner will be chosen by the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee, which includes coaches Dick Tomey (chairman), Ron McBride and Dick Vermeil; past NFLPA President and Inaugural Inductee Kevin Mawae; former NFL player and class of 2015 inductee Ray Schoenke; ESPN sportscaster Neil Everett; NFL player personnel legend Gil Brandt; NFL Network writer and commentator Steve Wyche; and Honolulu sportscaster Robert Kekaula.

Utah State begins the 2017 season at Wisconsin on Friday, Sept. 1, at 7 p.m. MT, in a game that will be televised nationally on ESPN. USU’s home opener is Thursday, Sept. 7, against Idaho State at 6 p.m., while its Mountain West opener is at San José State on Saturday, Sept. 23.

Doug Hoffman is the associate athletic director for Utah State University Athletic Media Relations.