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Mika Tafua Named Finalist For Polynesian College Football Player of the Year

Dec 16, 2021

HONOLULU, Hawaii – University of Utah defensive end Mika Tafua has been named a finalist for the 2021 Polynesian College Football Player of the Year Award, announced today by the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame.

Tafua is one of seven finalists for the award, which is presented annually to the most outstanding college football player of Polynesian ancestry that epitomizes great ability and integrity. The finalists were selected from a watch list of more than 80 players with the winner being announced on Dec. 22.

The Laie, Hawaii, native has led a Utah defense that ranks 12th in the FBS and first in the Pac-12 in total defense, allowing just 315.4 yards of offense per game. The Utes also rank 12th nationally in tackles for loss per game (7.4) and fifth in total sacks (42.0).

Tafua, who was named the 2021 Defensive Morris Trophy winner and All-Pac-12 first-team, has started all 13 games with 48 total tackles (13.0 TFL, 9.5 sacks). He leads the Pac-12 and ranks 25th nationally in total sacks (9.5), notching at least an assisted sack in nine of Utah's 13 games this season.

He has had at least one tackle for loss in six of Utah's last seven games, which included a 12-yard sack during the Utes' Pac-12 Championship victory over Oregon. Tafua is averaging has averaged 4.3 tackles per game over the last seven games, including tying his season-high of six stops three times in a four-game span (at Oregon State, at Stanford, at Arizona).

Tafua and the Utes will start 2022 in the Rose Bowl when they take on the Ohio State Buckeyes on Saturday, Jan. 1, 2022 in Pasadena, Calif. The game is set for a 2 p.m. PT/3 p.m. MT kick on ESPN.

Tafua's 2021 Honors

  • Polynesian College Football Player of the Year Finalist
  • Morris Trophy Winner
  • Ted Hendricks Award Final Watch List
  • Phil Steele All-America Fourth-Team
  • Pac-12 All-Conference First-Team
  • AP Pac-12 All-Conference First-Team