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Rebels Up For Polynesian Player Of Year Award

Sonny Sanitoa heads into his junior season with seven sacks.

July 24, 2014

LAS VEGAS ( - Two UNLV players have been named to the official watch list for the new Polynesian College Football Player of the Year Award.

The Polynesian Football Hall of Fame announced the establishment of the honor, presented by Starwood Hotels and Resorts. It will be awarded annually to the most outstanding Polynesian college football player who epitomizes great ability and integrity.

Rebel junior safety Peni Vea (pronounced "PENNY VAY-ah") and junior defensive lineman Sonny Sanitoa (SUN-e-TOW-ah) are both part of the 34-player list from 20 schools. Vea (Kailua-Kona, Hawai'i), out of Kealakehe High School, was named UNLV's Co-MVP on defense last season after leading the team with 108 total tackles. He was a preseason second team All-Mountain West selection by Phil Steele's and Athlon. Sanitoa (Pago Pago, American Samoa), a product of Samoana High School, is the team's active leader in career quarterback sacks with 7.0.

Five finalists will be unveiled November 20. The winner of the 2014 Polynesian College Football Player of the Year will be announced on Dec. 9. The formal presentation will be at the Celebration Dinner during the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Weekend on Jan. 23, 2015.

"The Polynesian influence and prestige in football is at an all-time high, and rapidly expanding," said Jesse Sapolu, Chairman and Co-Founder. "This award was established to showcase the immense talent of our Polynesian student-athletes in college football today."

The Watch List was selected based on past performance and future potential. Additions to the list may be made as the 2014 season progresses. The finalists and the winner will be chosen by the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee, which is composed of past college football head coaches Dick Tomey (Chairman), LaVell Edwards and Ron McBride, ESPN SportsCenter anchor Neil Everett, NFL player personnel expert Gil Brandt, past NFLPA president and Inaugural Inductee Kevin Mawae and Hawai'i sportscaster Robert Kekaula.



UNLV will hold its first practice August 6 and open its season on Friday, Aug. 29 at Arizona. The home opener is Saturday, Sept. 6 vs. Northern Colorado. Season tickets are on sale now starting at only $90 for all six home games. Three-game mini-plans are also on sale starting as low as $42. Call (702) 739-FANS or log on to for more information.
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