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Lahainaluna Grad, NFL Draft Prospect Mata‘afa Autograph Signing at KOR

April 18, 2018, 1:52 PM HST · Updated April 18, 1:54 PM
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Hercules Mata‘afa had a great career with the Washington State Cougars, where he earned Polynesian Football Hall of Fame College Player of the Year in 2017. Photo Courtesy

Lahainaluna High School’s Hercules Mata‘afa will be in the 2018 NFL Draft and to celebrate, The Westin Kā‘anapali Ocean Resort Villas will host Mata‘afa and his family the week of the draft, as well as a special autograph signing event free for the public on Wednesday, April 25, 2018.

Mata‘afa was born and raised on Maui in a family of seven kids. He and three of his siblings have gone on to play sports at the collegiate or professional level both nationally and internationally. He grew up playing football and wrestling from a young age and competed through high school in both sports.

“As far back as I can remember football was always one of my passions. My mom always says that my first word wasn’t mama or dada it was football,” Mata‘afa said. “I get my strength from my Polynesian background and smarts from my mother.”

During his time at Lahainaluna High School, Mata‘afa recalls many fond memories, he said, “I loved the feeling of winning big games with all the teammates that I grew up and played with since we were kids playing Pop Warner.”

When it came time for college, the Lahainaluna graduate knew he was serious about his football career and decided to play for the Washington State Cougars. He had a great career with the Cougars, where he earned Polynesian Football Hall of Fame College Player of the Year in 2017.

“Running out into a stadium with thousands of people cheering you on, is an atmosphere and feeling I will never forget,” he said.

In December of 2017, Mata‘afa decided to forego his senior year at Washington State and declare for the draft. With his dreams of the NFL in sight, Hercules said his goals for the NFL are “…to have a healthy and successful career and be a role model to other athletes from the islands.” With the draft taking place April 26-28, Mata‘afa says he will be happy no matter what happens.

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The free autograph signing event take place from 3 to 6 p.m., with complimentary valet parking at the South Lobby.

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