Tai Tumanuvao of Camas was one of 82 players nationwide to be selected to the 2020 National Football Foundation Team of Distinction, honoring graduating seniors who excelled in the classroom as well as on the football field.
“This honor is one of the most prestigious national awards that a high school player can receive, and it really brings into focus the phenomenal work that our chapters do in identifying the most outstanding young leaders in their community,” NFF chairman Archie Manning said.
Tumanuvao earned the honor as the year’s top lineman by the Clark County Chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame during it annual banquet in January.
Tumanuvao was a team captain for the Papermakers, helping to lead them to the Class 4A state championship.
He also was The Columbian’s All-Region player of the year, the first offensive lineman to win the honor. He was a first-team all-4A Greater St. Helens League pick and earned all-state honorable mention by the Associated Press.
When honored by The Columbian last December, Tumanuvao said he shared the distinction with his teammates on the Camas offensive line.
“That’s that unit people don’t understand,” Tumanuvao said. “It’s hard to give awards to the O-line. We’re all one group together.”
Nominated by the Clark County chapter of the NFF, Tumanuvao graduated from Camas earlier this month with 4.00 grade-point average. He was also an AP Scholar and a member of the Boy Scouts.
As part of its mission to promote the scholar-athlete ideal, the initiative allowed the NFF to honor the top high school scholar-athletes from around the country as the best and the brightest at the local level while highlighting the work of the NFF Chapter Network.
The members of the team all played their final high school football seasons during the 2019-20 school year. As part of the award, all of the honorees will be part of a permanent digital display at the Chick-fil-A College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta.
Tumanuvao was one of three players from Washington to earn as spot on the NFF’s Team of Distinction, joining TE/LB Braeden Goff of Bonney Lake and WR/CB Cage Schenck of Woodinville.