Mata'afa having historic year for the Cougars - SWX Right Now-Sports for Spokane, CdA, Tri-Cities, WA

Mata'afa having historic year for the Cougars

Mat'afa led the Pac-12 in sacks and tackles for loss. Mat'afa led the Pac-12 in sacks and tackles for loss.

2017 will be a year to remember for Washington State defensive lineman Hercules Mata'afa. The Hawaiian native was named the Polynesian College Football Player of the Year by the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame selection committee on Tuesday. Mata'afa beat out four other players for this award - Washington’s Vita Vea, Oregon State’s Manase Hungalu, Hawaii’s Jahlani Tavai and Virginia Tech’s Andrew Motuapuaka.

This isn't the only honor Mata'afa has received this season. The junior was also named the Associated Press Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, leading the conference in both sacks (9.5) and tackles for loss (21.5). Mata'afa becomes the Cougars' first defensive lineman consensus All-American since Rein Long accomplished this feat back in 2002.

To be considered a consensus All-American, a player must be a first-team All-American selection in three of five media outlets - the Associated Press, the Walter Camp Football Foundation, the Sporting News, the Football Writers Association of America and the American Football Coaches Association. Mata'afa was named a first-team selection on three of the five outlets (AP, Walter Camp Football Foundation and the Sporting News).

Mata'afa has one year of eligibility left for Washington State, but could declare for the NFL Draft after this season. Washington State has one game left on their schedule, as they will play in the Holiday Bowl against Michigan State on Dec. 28 at 6:00 pm.

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