Five Willamette Football Players Named to Hampshire Honor Society

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

SALEM, OR -- Five Willamette University football players have been named to the second annual class of the Hampshire Honor Society, which was formed by the National Football Foundation in the spring of 2007. The honor goes to college football players from all divisions of play who were seniors and maintained at least a 3.2 cumulative grade point average.

Willamette's selections were Matt Bicocca (Sr., PK, 6'1", 167 lbs, San Andreas, CA/Calaveras HS), Justin Cole (Sr., OG, 6'2", 271 lbs., Hillsboro, OR/Glencoe HS), Ben Fennimore (Sr., FS, 6'2", 200 lbs., Salem, OR/McKay HS), Stephen Shamus (Sr., LS, 6'1", 217 lbs., Stockton, CA/Lincoln HS) and Kevin Whipps (Sr., QB, 6'2", 198 lbs., Eagle, ID/Eagle HS).

The Class of 2008 for the Hampshire Honor Society included a total of 439 players from 226 colleges and universities. It was approximately 25% larger than the inaugural Class of 2007, which featured 345 players representing 195 college teams.

Hampshire Honor Society Class of 2008 - Willamette University Athletes

Matt Bicocca Matt Bicocca (Sr., PK) scored a career-high 49 points in 2007, as 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 Linfield. He set WU single game records for extra points made and attempted by hitting 11 of 11 PATs against Lewis & Clark College on Nov. 3.

He was named First Team All-Northwest Conference in 2006 and 2007. He was chosen First Team ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District VIII by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) in 2007.

Bicocca converted 20 of 29 field goal attempts during his final three years at Willamette and concluded his career 22 of 41 on field goals (53.7%) overall. He was 102 of 112 on extra points (91.1%). The longest successful field goal of his career was from 47 yards against Lewis & Clark College in 2006.

He set Willamette career records for field goals attempted and for extra points made and attempted. He earned NWC Special Teams Player of the Week honors on Nov. 4, 2006, Sept. 29, 2007 and Nov. 3, 2007.

Justin Cole Justin Cole (Sr., OG) was a key offensive lineman for the Bearcats throughout his Willamette career. He was a freshman on WU's team that qualified for the NCAA Division III Playoffs in 2004 and was chosen Honorable Mention All-Northwest Conference in 2006. During his four years at Willamette, Cole helped the Bearcats rush for a combined 8,771 yards and 94 touchdowns.

As a senior last fall, he provided important blocks that allowed the Willamette offense to gain 343.0 total yards per game and 250.0 rushing yards per contest. Willamette scored 25 rushing touchdowns and finished the year with 251 points (25.1 avg.).

Ben Fennimore Ben Fennimore (Sr., FS) made 39 total tackles this fall, including 27 unassisted tackles. He broke up three passes and earned one interception, which he returned 15 yards. He was chosen Second Team All-NWC.

Fennimore concluded his Willamette career with 110 total tackles (58 unassisted tackles). He also registered six pass break-ups and intercepted two passes, while making quality contributions to the defensive secondary. He achieved a career-high 45 total tackles in 2006, on his way to earning Honorable Mention All-NWC recognition.

Stephen ShamusStephen Shamus (Sr., LS) was Willamette's starting long snapper for four consecutive seasons. He provided consistently accurate and effective snaps, allowing Willamette to excel on special teams.

As a junior in 2006, his efficiency resulted in the Bearcats attempting 31 field goals and punting 35 times without having a kick blocked. Shamus also worked hard to help tackle opponent returners on punts. His overall abilities made him a valuable contributor on WU's special teams.

Kevin WhippsKevin Whipps (Sr., QB) started all nine games at quarterback for the Bearcats in 2006. He completed 61 of 116 passes (52.6%) for 798 yards during the season. He connected for three touchdown passes.

He moved to wide receiver to start the 2007 season. When Grant Leslie (Jr., QB, Bainbridge Island, WA/Bainbridge HS) injured his leg partway through the year, Whipps returned to the quarterback position as the top back-up to Ryan Whitcomb (So., Oak View, CA/College of the Canyons).

Whipps played in 19 games during his career, including 15 games the past two years. He completed 74 of 144 passes (51.4%) and threw five touchdown passes.

Qualifications for membership in the NFF's Hampshire Honor Society included:

• Being a starter or a significant substitute in one’s last year of eligibility at an accredited NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision, Football Championship Subdivision, NCAA Division II, NCAA Division III or NAIA college or university;

• Achieving a 3.2 cumulative grade point average throughout an entire course of undergraduate study; and

• Meeting all NCAA-mandated progress toward degree requirements.

Willamette now has seven players in the Hampshire Honor Society. Kevin Dean '07 (FB, Weed, CA/Weed HS) and Ben Weyerhaeuser '07 (SS, Eatonville, CA/Charles Wright Academy) were members of the inaugural class last year.

Matt Bicocca was one of five Willamette players named to the NFF Hampshire Honor Society Class of 2008.