Quaterback Ryan Whitcomb returns after missing most of last season with an injury.
Tailback Deon Horne returns for his senior season.
Football Team Ranks Eighth in National Preseason Poll
A 2009 Northwest Conference Preseason Poll also predicts that the Bearcats will repeat as the conference champions. The team won last year's NWC title with a 6-0 record and finished the regular season undefeated at 10-0.
The D3Football.com poll is based on a panel of voters that include coaches, sports information directors and media representatives. The NWC poll is voted on by the league's head coaches.
Willamette enters this season with 43 returning letterman. The Bearcats have five returning starters on offense and seven on defense.
The Bearcats open the season Sept. 5 at Concordia University-Moorhead in Moorehead, Minn. The team's home opener is set for Sept. 12 at 1:30 p.m. against California Lutheran University.
Read comprehensive coverage of the football program on the Athletics page.