Former Bearcats Bennett and Forshey Take Football Indoors

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

KENNEWICK, WASH. -- Former Willamette University offensive tackles Brandon Bennett '08 and Jake Forshey '09 were stellar performers for the Bearcat football team. Now they are combining their efforts beyond the college level as members of the Tri-Cities Fever in the Arena Football 2 League.

Bennett (6'2", 290 lbs.), from San Marcos, Calif., and La Costa Canyon High School, played on WU teams from 2004-07. Forshey (6'7", 310 lbs.), who is from Santa Ynez, Calif., and Santa Ynez Valley Union High School, played for the Bearcats from 2005-08.

The Tri-Cities Fever is 2-11 on the season. In their most recent game on June 27, the Fever defeated the Stockton Lightning, 42-35. The Fever is in action again tonight (July 11) with a road game at the Boise Burn.

Following tonight's game, Tri-Cities will have two games remaining in the season -- at the Rio Grande Valley Dorados on July 18 and at home against the Central Valley Coyotes on July 25. The Fever plays its home games at the Toyota Center in Kennewick.

"It is a real honor for our program to have two offensive linemen playing professionally," Willamette Head Coach Mark Speckman said. "Brandon and Jake were both guys with exceptional size, strength and quickness. These traits made them multiple-year starters for us and First Team All-NWC players. I am not surprised that they have had success after their Willamette careers. "

While at Willamette, Bennett was selected to the AFCA Division III Coaches’ All-America Team as a junior and a senior in 2006 and 2007. He was named Second Team A.P. Little All-America in 2007 and was selected for the Third Team in 2006.

He also was named Third Team All-America by D3Football.com in 2007. He received Honorable Mention All-America recognition from D3Football.com in 2005 and 2006. He was a D3Football.com All-West Region selection three times -- on the First Team in 2007, the Second Team in 2006 and the Third Team in 2005.

Bennett was named First Team All-Northwest Conference during his final three seasons with the Bearcats. He earned Honorable Mention All-NWC recognition as a freshman in 2004. He was Willamette's Offensive Player of the Year twice (2006, 2007). He was a freshman on WU's team in 2004 that qualified for the NCAA Division III Playoffs.

As a senior, Bennett represented Willamette on the United States team of NCAA Division III All-Stars at the 2007 Aztec Bowl in Chihuahua, Mexico. Bennett helped the USA gain 191 rushing yards and 397 total yards in a 37-19 win over Mexico.

During four seasons at Willamette, Bennett provided strong blocking as the Bearcats gained a total of 8,960 rushing yards (229.7 avg.) and 94 rushing touchdowns. In 2007, he helped the Bearcats rush for 2,500 yards and 25 touchdowns on their way to 3,430 yards of total offense.

"What Brandon and Jake also share in common is an outstanding work ethic which led to their success,” Speckman noted. “Jake especially had to improve his strength and learn how to use his height and weight to his advantage."

In 2008, Forshey was chosen Second Team All-America and First Team All-West Region by D3Football.com. He was named First Team All-NWC after helping the Bearcats win the NWC championship with a 6-0 record.

Willamette was undefeated in the regular season (10-0) and defeated Occidental College in the first round of the NCAA Division III Playoffs before falling to eventual national runner-up the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. It was Willamette's third trip to the NCAA Playoffs since 1999.

WU ended the 2008 season ranked #4 in the final D3Football.com Top 25. The Bearcats were listed at #5 in the final AFCA Coaches Poll for NCAA Division III.

Forshey helped Willamette set school records with 498 points and 69 touchdowns (61 on offense) during the season. He was a key blocker as Willamette averaged an impressive 7.1 yards per play. He helped WU rush for 3,014 yards and 41 touchdowns on the ground. The Bearcats gained 4,987 total yards (415.6 avg.).

During Forshey's career, the Bearcats rushed for 9,222 yards. WU scored 105 rushing touchdowns in 40 games from 2005-08.

While Bennett and Forshey gained success on the field, they also excelled in the classroom and completed their bachelor's degrees at Willamette. Bennett majored in Economics and Forshey majored in Exercise Science.

"They both graduated in four years," Speckman said. "I know they both love to play football and compete, and they'll probably go as long and far as they can. But I know they both agree that the degree they earned from Willamette is their real ticket to success."

Brandon Bennett received All-America honors from the AFCA, D3Football.com and the Associated Press while playing for Willamette.

Brandon Bennett received All-America honors from the AFCA, D3Football.com and the Associated Press while playing for Willamette.