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ASU OL Sione Finau and Leif Fautanu named to Polynesian College Football Player of the Year Award watch list

Via @ASUFootball/ X

Two of Arizona State’s newest offensive linemen, Sione Finau and Leif Fautanu, were named to the Polynesian College Football Player of the Year Award watch list.

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According to the press release, “The Award is presented annually to the most outstanding college football player of Polynesian ancestry that epitomizes great ability and integrity.”

Finau, a 6-foot-3, 310-pound senior, transferred to the Sun Devils from Purdue in April and has been playing primarily left guard in practice. Fautanu, a 6-foot-2, 305-pound junior, transferred to to ASU from UNLV in December and will be the team’s starting center, barring a drastic change.

Both have been taking starting reps for the Sun Devils and figure to be two top options on the offensive line.

Going back to high school, both were three-star prospects (Finau from Central HS in Keller, TX and Fautanu from University Laboratory School in Honolulu, HI) and now have big opportunities with the Sun Devils.

Sione Finau

Finau actually started his career at FIU in 2019 before transferring to the Boilermakers in December 2021.

He logged one start in his time at Purdue (against LSU on Jan. 2), but appeared in all 14 games.

At FIU, he played in nine games in 2021, started all five games in 2020 and played in seven games his true freshman year in 2019.

Finau brings a lot of experience to the Sun Devil offensive line, which could debut a lot of new faces in the team’s season opener on Aug. 31 against Southern Utah.

“He’s a vet, he’s seen a lot of ball,” junior ASU OL Isaia Glass said of Finau. “He kind of came in and just picked it right up. So I mean, I feel like guys weren’t really expecting him to be driving along. He came in here and was an older guy, so he already knew what is was.”

Leif Fautanu

Fautanu has high aspirations going into his first year at Arizona State.

“I want to be the best center in the conference,” Fautanu told me before fall camp. “For me, personally, I want to win the Rimington (Trophy), which is … (given to) the best center in the nation. So, that’s my goal.”

Fautanu earned an honorable mention All-Mountain West selection in 2022 after anchoring an offensive line that produced a 1,000-yard rusher for the second consecutive season. “He was the fifth-highest graded center in the MWC by PFF this season as a pass blocker and was not credited with a sack allowed on the season – one of just 21 FBS centers with at least 400 pass blocking snaps to lay such a claim and showing a marked improvement in the category after allowing six in 2021,” according to his ASU bio.

Fautanu also started all 12 games for UNLV in 2021 and four in the COVID-19 shortened 2020 season after redshirting his freshman year in 2o19. The Honolulu native was also a preseason 2022 Rimington Trophy and Polynesian College Football Player of the Year candidate.

Coach Kenny Dillingham praised Fautanu after Wednesday’s scrimmage.

“I probably haven’t talked enough about Leif in fall camp in general,” Dillingham said. “He was voted to our leadership council being brand new here. Him and (linebacker) Travion Brown are two new guys that the guys were like, ‘Man, these are some of the leaders of our football team.’ And they were both transfers that just showed up back in January.”

Aside from himself, Fautanu also has big goals for the entire offensive line.

“As an offensive line, I want to have the goal of the Joe Moore Award, which (is given to) the best offensive line (in the country),” Fautanu said. “I know that a lot of people want to win this conference, especially in the o-line, we talk about it all the time. We want to be the best offensive line in the conference, and the only way we start to win games is with the offensive line.”

ASU freshman CB and national champion inline speed skater Keith Abney impresses in fall camp

ASU TE Jalin Conyers, WR Elijhah Badger, RB Cameron Skattebo and P Josh Carlson were other Sun Devils to be named to preseason award watch lists.

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Brendan Mau is a college sports insider and general assignment reporter for Burn City Sports. You can follow him on X via @Brendan_Mau

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