Seven Bearcats are Named to Hampshire Honor Society

Knecht, Laird, Millar, Pastorino, Turner, Wenzel, and Wise Earn Recognition

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

SALEM, ORE. – A total of seven Willamette University football players have been chosen for the seventh annual class of the Hampshire Honor Society, sponsored by the National Football Foundation. The Hampshire Honor Society recognizes college football players from all divisions who are seniors and have maintained at least a 3.2 cumulative grade point average during their collegiate careers.

Willamette seniors being honored this year after completing their eligibility during the 2012 season are Jake Knecht (WR, Issaquah, WA/Skyline HS/Illinois State Univ.), Tommy Laird (PK, Beaverton, OR/Beaverton HS), Matt Millar (DE, Clovis, CA/Floyd B. Buchanan HS), Cody Pastorino (S, Glenn, CA/Willows HS), Jake Turner (WR, Ontario, OR/Ontario HS), Wes Wenzel (ILB, Portland, OR/Sunset HS), and Zane Wise (OG, Sweet Home, OR/Sweet Home HS).

All seven of Willamette's honorees graduated this spring. Knecht and Millar are continuing master's level studies in Willamette's 3/2 MBA program.

The overall Hampshire Honor Society class of 2013 includes 703 players from 259 colleges and universities. At least one player was selected from more college and universities this year than in any other class since the Hampshire Honor Society was started in 2007. This year's athletes were nominated after completing the fall semester in 2012.

Willamette’s seven selections are the most in school history. Since 2007, a total of 24 Bearcats have been selected for the Hampshire Honor Society.

Jake KnechtJake Knecht (Sr., WR) received Second Team All-NWC recognition in 2012 and was selected First Team All-NWC in 2011. This past fall, he led the Bearcats with 55 catches for 773 yards (14.1 avg.) and 11 touchdowns. He set career highs with 10 catches against Pacific on Sept. 22 and 147 receiving yards against Whitworth University on Oct. 6.

In three seasons at Willamette, Knecht played in all 30 games. He caught 103 passes for 1,708 yards and 20 touchdowns. He scored 132 points, including 66 points in 2012. He finished his career with 2,434 all-purpose yards.

As a student, Knecht majored in Rhetoric and Media Studies as well as Management, while participating in the 3/2 MBA Program. He maintained a 3.52 GPA through the fall semester.

Tommy LairdTommy Laird (Sr., PK) handled kickoff duties for the Bearcats in five games this past season. His 27 kickoffs covered 1,425 yards, an average of 52.8 yards per kick. His top game was against Pacific on Nov. 3, when he averaged 58.3 yards and including one touchback on six kickoffs.

He finished his career with 36 kickoffs overall for 1,906 yards, as he averaged 52.9 yards per kick.

Laird achieved a major in Environmental Science while earning a minor in Geography. He attained a 3.31 GPA through the fall semester.

Matt MillarMatt Millar (Sr., DE) registered a career-high 22 tackles this past season, evenly split between 11 solo tackles and 11 assists. He earned 2.5 tackles for losses and 1.5 sacks. He also was credited with two quarterback hurries and one blocked kick. He received Honorable Mention All-NWC recognition.

He played in a combined total of 19 games in 2011 and 2012 to finish his career with 26 games played. During his career, he earned 40 tackles, including 5.0 tackles for losses. He recovered two fumbles, both in 2011.

Millar majored in Economics at Willamette. He is participating in the 3/2 MBA program. He owned a 3.32 GPA through the fall of 2012.

Cody PastorinoCody Pastorino (Sr., S) was named Second Team All-America and First Team All-West Region by this past season. He led the 2012 Bearcats with five interceptions for 53 yards. He ranked second on the team with 62 total tackles (40 solo) and tied for second with six pass break-ups. He achieved 2.0 sacks and earned 4.5 tackles for losses. He blocked three kicks on special teams.

Pastorino's three blocked kicks led the Northwest Conference, while his five interceptions tied for first place in the NWC.

During his four years at Willamette, Pastorino registered 169 total tackles (111 unassisted), 8.5 tackles for losses, 11 interceptions, 14 pass break-ups and seven blocked kicks. He was chosen First Team All-NWC in 2011 and 2012, and was named Second Team All-NWC in 2010.

Pastorino majored in Exercise Science. He owned a 3.23 GPA through the fall semester.

Jake TurnerJake Turner (Sr., WR) concluded the 2012 season with 50 catches for 763 yards (15.3 avg.) to rank second in the team in receiving. He tied for third on the team with five touchdown catches. He hauled in a career-high 11 passes for 173 yards and two touchdowns against East Texas Baptist University on Sept. 14.

Turner played in all 10 games during each of the past three seasons. He caught a 69 passes for 948 yards and six touchdowns in his career. He also rushed for 515 yards on 87 carries (5.9 avg.). He was named Honorable Mention All-NWC as a wide receiver in 2012 and was chosen Second Team All-NWC at flanker in 2011.

Turner achieved a major in Exercise Science. He held a 3.31 GPA after the fall semester.

Wes WenzelWes Wenzel (Sr., ILB) registered 51 total tackles in 2012, including 28 unassisted stops, despite missing two games due to injury. He earned 10 or more tackles in three games during the season. He also provided two sacks. He rushed for 20 yards on a fake punt against Pacific on Nov. 3.

During his career, Wenzel accumulated 130 tackles in 33 games played. He produced 6.5 tackles for losses, broke up four passes, forced two fumbles and recovered one fumble. He rushed three times for 63 yards on fake punts. He was named Honorable Mention All-NWC in 2012 and was selected Second Team All-NWC in 2011.

Wenzel majored in Chemistry (Biochemistry track) at Willamette and received the Chemistry Leadership scholarship. He held a 3.52 cumulative GPA after the fall semester.

Zane WiseZane Wise (Sr., OG/C) started every game in 2010 and 2011 for a total of 20 games played over the two seasons. In 2012, his skills at protecting the quarterback helped Willamette complete 287 of 445 passes (64.5%) for 3,550 yards and 37 touchdowns. In 2010, his blocking was one reason the Bearcats gained 2,209 rushing yards and 23 touchdowns on the ground.

Overall, he played in 30 games during his career. He was named Honorable Mention All-NWC in 2012 and Second Team All-NWC in 2011.

While working on a major in Exercise Science, Wise attained a 3.31 cumulative GPA through the fall semester.

Qualifications for membership in the NFF's Hampshire Honor Society

•    Being a starter or significant substitute in the 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 undergraduate study
•    Meeting all NCAA-mandated progress-toward-degree requirements

Willamette Football Players in the NFF Hampshire Honor Society

Jake Knecht, WR
Tommy Laird, PK
Matt Millar, DE
Cody Pastorino, S
Jake Turner, WR
Wes Wenzel, ILB
Zane Wise, OG

Harmon Bruno, OLB
Ben Kittelson, OT
Kenny Miller, C/OG

Luis Guerra, OT/OG
Scott Schoettgen, WR
Dennis Plzak, OG

Jack Bevins, ILB

Matt Bicocca, PK
Justin Cole, OG
Ben Fennimore, FS
Stephen Shamus, LS
Kevin Whipps, QB

Kevin Dean, FB
Ben Weyerhaeuser, ILB

Cody Pastorino was named Second Team All-America by in 2012.

Cody Pastorino was named Second Team All-America by in 2012.