Five Bearcats Named to All-West Region Football Team by D3Football.com

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

SALEM, ORE. -- Five Willamette University football players have been named to the All-West Region Team for the 2008 season, as selected by D3Football.com. First Team selections for the Bearcats were senior Merben Woo at wide receiver, senior Jake Forshey at offensive tackle, and sophomore Jose Green at return specialist. Junior Deon Horne was named to the Second Team at running back, and senior Jack Bevins was selected to the Third Team at linebacker.

Willamette Head Coach Mark Speckman, who led the team to an 11-1 overall record, including an undefeated Northwest Conference championship and a berth into the NCAA Division III Playoffs, was chosen West Region Coach of the Year. Royce Winford, a senior wide receiver from Augsburg (Minn.) was named West Region Offensive Player of the Year, and Brad Vickroy, a senior defensive tackle at the University of Wisonsin-Stevens Points, was named West Region Defensive Player of the Year.

The Bearcats went 10-0 in the regular season and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Playoffs by defeating Occidental College, 48-33, in the first round. Willamette lost in the second round to the defending national champions from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, 30-27. The Bearcats picked fourth in the Northwest Conference Preseason Poll, won the NWC title with a 6-0 record.

First Team All-West Region

Merben Woo (Sr., FL, Salinas, CA/North Salinas HS/Hartnell College) set a Willamette school record with 1,735 all-purpose yards during the season. He carried the ball 107 times for 816 yards (7.6 avg.) and nine touchdowns. He also caught a team-high 41 passes for 890 yards and eight touchdowns. Woo scored 17 touchdowns overall and led the Bearcats in scoring with 102 points. He was named NWC Co-Offensive Player of the Year.

Jake Forshey (Sr., OT, Santa Ynez, CA/Santa Ynez Valley Union HS) had an outstanding year in Willamette’s offensive line. He helped the Bearcats rush for 3,014 yards and 41 touchdowns. He also contributed to WU’s passing game, which resulted in 1,973 yards and 20 touchdowns. Forshey and the other Bearcat offensive linemen limited opponents to just nine sacks in 12 games. The Bearcats set school records with 498 points scored and 69 total touchdowns (including eight TDs on defense or special teams)

Jose Green
(So., TB, Downey CA/Warren HS) returned 18 punts for 169 yards (9.4 avg.), including a 46-yard touchdown against Southern Oregon University. He also brought back 27 kickoffs for a total of 596 yards (22.1 avg.). He scored on a 75-yard kickoff return in Willamette’s against Lewis & Clark College. Green contributed on offense by rushing 46 times for 260 yards (5.7 avg.). He caught five passes for 56 yards.

Second Team All-West Region

Deon Horne (Jr., TB, Issaquah, WA/Liberty HS) was Willamette’s leading rusher. He ran with the ball 137 times for 988 yards (7.2 avg.) and 12 touchdowns. His longest carry covered 79 yards for a touchdown against Occidental in the first round of the playoffs. Horne rushed for over 100 yards five times, including a season-high 132 yards on 19 carries versus Whitworth.

Third Team All-West Region

Jack Bevins (Sr., ILB, Park City, UT/Park City HS) recorded 105 total tackles during the season. He earned 44 solo tackles and was credited with 61 assisted tackles. He had five tackles for losses, including two quarterback sacks. He also forced a fumble and intercepted one pass. Bevins achieved nine or more tackles in seven different games. He registered his season-high of 18 tackles against the University of Puget Sound and made 13 tackles against both Concordia University-Moorhead and Occidental.

Merben Woo has been selected First Team All-West Region by D3Football.com.

Merben Woo has been selected First Team All-West Region by D3Football.com.