NORMAN — University of Oklahoma senior offensive lineman Dru Samia has been named one of five finalists for the Polynesian College Football Player of the Year, presented by the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame.
Samia is joined on the list of finalists by defensive end A.J. Epenesa of Iowa, defensive back Alohi Gilman of Notre Dame, quarterback Tua Tagovailoa of Alabama and wide receiver John Ursua of Hawai’i. The award, given annually since 2014, is presented to the most outstanding college football player of Polynesia ancestry that epitomizes great ability and integrity.
From Sacramento, Calif., Samia was named the tri-Big 12 Offensive Lineman of the Year and an All-Big 12 First Team selection, and earned first-team All-America honors from Sports Illustrated. He is part of an OU offensive line that is a finalist for the Joe Moore Award, presented to the most outstanding offensive line unit in college football.
Samia has started all 13 games at right guard this season and has registered 101 knockdowns while not allowing a sack. He has made 47 starts in 51 games played in his four-year career. He played his first two seasons at right tackle before moving inside to right guard for the last two campaigns.
The OU offensive line has paved the way for the Sooners to average 8.7 yards per snap this year, a mark that would break the single-season FBS record for yards per play of 8.6 by Hawaii in 2006. The Sooners lead the nation with 11.6 yards per pass attempt, and rank second by averaging 6.7 yards per rush. Additionally, Oklahoma is the only team in the country this season with at least 40 rushing touchdowns (40) and at least 40 passing TDs (41).
Oklahoma leads the country in points per game (49.5) and yards per contest this season (577.9), and averages 0.71 points per offensive play. Five times already this season the Sooners have recorded at least 300 rushing and at least 300 passing yards in a game. The feat had only been accomplished six times in program history entering the year.
The Finalists were selected from a Watch List of more than 50 players by the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee which includes Coaches Dick Tomey (Chairman), Ron McBride and Dick Vermeil, past NFL player and inaugural inductee Olin Kreutz, past NFLPA President and inaugural inductee Kevin Mawae, former NFL Player and Class of 2015 inductee Ray Schoenke, NFL player personnel legend Gil Brandt, ESPN Sportscaster Neil Everett, NFL Network writer and commentator Steve Wyche and Honolulu sportscaster Robert Kekaula.
The winner of the Polynesian College Football Player of the Year Award will be announced on Dec. 13. The formal presentation of the award will be held at the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame Celebration Dinner on Jan. 18, and the winner will be recognized during the Polynesian Bowl on Jan. 19.
No. 4 Oklahoma will make its 52nd bowl appearance when it takes on No. 1 Alabama in the College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Capital One Orange Bowl on Dec. 29 at 7 p.m. CT. The game will be televised by ESPN.
2018 Polynesian Player of the Year Finalists
A.J. Epenesa, Defensive End, Iowa
Alohi Gilman, Defensive Back, Notre Dame
Dru Samia, Offensive Line, Oklahoma
Tua Tagovailoa, Quarterback, Alabama
John Ursua, Wide Receiver, Hawai’i