Bennett Named All-America by the AFCA and Chosen First Team All-Region by D3Football.com

By Robert McKinney, Athletics Communications Director, (503) 370-6110

SALEM, ORE. -- Willamette University senior offensive tackle Brandon Bennett (6'2", 290 lbs, San Marcos, CA/La Costa Canyon HS) has been named to the AFCA Division III Coaches’ All-America Team for the second consecutive season. Bennett was one of five offensive lineman included on the team. A total of 25 players were selected overall.

Bennett was chosen for the AFCA Division III Coaches’ All-America Team for the first time in 2006. He was one of just three players to repeat as selections on this year’s All-America Team.

He also was named First Team All-West Region by D3Football.com for the 2007 season. He was selected Second Team All-West Region by D3Football.com in 2006 and was Third Team All-West Region in 2005.

“I just think he’s a rare blend of strength and fitness that makes him a great player,” Willamette Head Coach Mark Speckman said. “When you combine that with his intelligence and experience, it makes him one of the best linemen we’ve had since I’ve been here.”

Willamette also placed two players on the D3Football.com All-West Region Third Team squad for 2007. They were senior place-kicker Matt Bicocca (6'1" 167 lbs., San Andreas, CA/Calaveras HS) and senior defensive tackle Mitchell MacCready (6'4", 244 lbs., Manteca, CA/Manteca HS).

Over the past four seasons, Bennett helped Willamette rush for a total of 8,960 yards (229.7 yards per game) and 94 touchdowns. In 2007, he helped the Bearcats rush for 2,500 yards and 25 touchdowns in 2007. He was a key blocker and pass protector as WU accumulated 343.0 total yards of offense per game.

Bennett was named First Team All-Northwest Conference three consecutive years, after earning Honorable Mention All-NWC recognition as a freshman. He was named Third Team A.P. Little All-America in 2006. He earned Honorable Mention All-America recognition from D3Football.com in 2005 and 2006.

On Saturday, Dec. 8, Bennett represented Willamette on the United States team of NCAA Division III All-Stars at the 2007 Aztec Bowl in Chihuahua, Mexico. The United States' ground game led to two fourth quarter touchdowns to hold off Mexico, 37-19. Bennett helped the USA gain 191 rushing yards and 397 total yards during the game.

Bennett was chosen by his teammates as Willamette’s Offensive Player of the Year in 2006. He was selected as the Offensive Player of the Year again this fall. MacCready was named Defensive Player of the Year by the Bearcats in 2006. Bennett, Bicocca and MacCready were freshmen on Willamette's team that qualified for the NCAA Division III Playoffs in 2004.

Matt Bicocca
Bicocca scored a career-high 49 points this year. He converted 7 of 12 field goals and made 28 of 28 extra points. He connected on a 42-yard field goal with four seconds remaining to send Willamette to a 33-32 victory over arch rival Linfield College. He set the Willamette single game records for extra points made and attempted when he hit 11 of 11 PATs in WU's 77-17 win against Lewis & Clark College on Nov. 3.

He was successful on 20 of 29 field goals since the start of the 2005 season. Overall, he concluded his career after making 22 of 41 field goals (53.7%) and 102 of 112 extra points (91.1%). The longest successful field goal of his career was from 47 yards against Lewis & Clark in 2006. Bicocca set Willamette career records for field goals attempted and for extra points made and attempted.

Bicocca was named First Team All-NWC in 2006 and 2007, and earned NWC Special Teams Player of the Week honors on Nov. 4, 2006, Sept. 29, 2007 and Nov. 3, 2007. He was named to the All-Region Team for the first time this season.

Mitchell MacCready
MacCready registered 12 solo tackles and eight assists this season. He had 6.5 tackles for losses of 20 yards and two quarterback sacks. He started all 10 games for the Bearcats.

During four seasons at Willamette, MacCready achieved 77 total tackles, including 40 unassisted tackles. He provided the 'Cats with 20.5 tackles for losses and 7.5 sacks. He also broke up two passes and recovered two fumbles. He was named First Team All-Northwest Conference this season and was selected Second Team All-NWC in 2005 and 2006. As a junior in 2006, he earned a career-high 31 tackles and had seven tackles for losses.

Willamette finished the 2007 season with a 4-6 overall record, including 3-3 (4th place) in the Northwest Conference. Willamette defeated Linfield on Sept. 29, when the Wildcats were ranked #12 in NCAA Division III by D3Football.com. WU also lost five games by nine points or less. One of the Bearcats' losses came against NWC champion Whitworth, 20-17, in overtime on Oct. 27.

Brandon Bennett’s Honors and Awards

2007 AFCA First Team All-America
2007 D3Football.com First Team All-West Region
2007 First Team All-Northwest Conference
2007 Willamette Offensive Player of the Year
2006 NAIC First Team All-America (All-Fraternity)
2006 A.P. Third Team Little All-America
2006 D3Football.com Honorable Mention All-America
2006 D3Football.com Second Team All-West Region
2006 Willamette Offensive Player of the Year
2005 First Team All-Northwest Conference
2005 D3Football.com Honorable Mention All-America
2005 D3football.com Third Team All-West Region
2005 First Team All-Northwest Conference
2004 Honorable Mention All-Northwest Conference

Matt Bicocca's Honors and Awards

2007 D3football.com Third Team All-West Region
2007 First Team All-Northwest Conference
2007 NWC Special Teams Player of the Week, Sept. 29
2007 NWC Special Teams Player of the Week, Nov. 3
2006 First Team All-Northwest Conference
2006 NWC Special Teams Player of the Week, Nov. 4

Mitchell MacCready's Honors and Awards

2007 D3football.com Third Team All-West Region
2007 First Team All-Northwest Conference
2006 Second Team All-Northwest Conference
2006 Willamette Defensive Player of the Year
2005 Second Team All-Northwest Conference

Brandon Bennett was named to the AFCA Division III Coaches' All-America Team and was chosen First Team All-Region by D3Football.com.

Brandon Bennett was named to the AFCA Division III Coaches' All-America Team and was chosen First Team All-Region by D3Football.com.