By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications
SALEM, Ore. -- Alec Stevenson (So., ILB, Malibu, CA/Calabasas HS), who led Willamette University in total tackles, and Benjamin Jahn (Sr./Jr., DL, Juneau, AK/Thunder Mountain HS), who topped the Bearcats in tackles for loss and quarterback sacks, have been chosen Second Team All-Northwest Conference for the 2017 season in voting by the NWC head coaches. In addition offensive lineman Chris Feskens (Sr., C, Salem, OR/North Salem HS) and kick returner Jeremiah James (Sr./Jr., WR, Salem, OR/South Salem HS/Chemeketa CC) were named Honorable Mention All-NWC.
A total of 82 players were selected to the 2017 All-Northwest Conference Football Team. Quarterback Ian Kolste of Whitworth University was chosen NWC Offensive Player of the Year. Linebacker Jason Farlow from Linfield College and linebacker Charles Riga from George Fox University were named NWC Co-Defensive Players of the Year. Cameron Change, a defensive lineman from Lewis & Clark College, was named NWC Freshman of the Year. Head Coach Joseph Smith of Linfield was voted NWC Coach of the Year.
Willamette finished the season with a 0-9 overall record, including 0-7 in the NWC. The Bearcats averaged 335.8 total yards of offense per game, with 189.4 passing yards and 146.3 rushing yards per contest. On defense, Willamette allowed 202.8 rushing yards and 241.8 passing yards per game.
Second Team All-Northwest Conference
Benjamin Jahn (Sr./Jr., DE) was named Second Team All-NWC for the second time. He also received Second Team honors as a freshman in 2014. He ranked fourth on the Willamette defensive chart this season with 44 total tackles. He registered 27 unassisted tackles to go along with 17 assists. He led the Bearcats with 12.0 tackles for loss (38 yards lost) and was first on the team with 4.0 quarterback sacks (25 yards lost). He also was credited with two quarterback hurries.
Jahn earned a career-high 13 tackles, including 10 unassisted tackles, against Lewis & Clark on Sept. 30, 2017. He recorded 6.0 tackles for loss against the Pioneers and was named to the D3football.com Team of the Week.
In three seasons at Willamette, Jahn has played in 27 games and has provided the Bearcats with 113 total tackles, including 65 unassisted stops. His career totals also include 28.0 tackles for loss (97 yards) and 11.0 quarterback sacks (61 yards). He achieved 39 tackles as a freshman, with 9.5 tackles for loss (44 yards) and 6.0 sacks (33 yards). As a sophomore in 2016, he added 30 total tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss and one sack.
Alec Stevenson (So., ILB) was named All-NWC for the first time. He was Willamette's top tackler this season with 99 total tackles, 56 unassisted tackles and 43 assists. He recorded 8.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 quarterback sacks. He provided WU with one pass break-up and one quarterback hurry. Stevenson was credited with 13 or more tackles in five games this season, including a career-high 17 tackles against Pacific University on Nov. 4. He amassed 15 tackles against George Fox University, 14 tackles against both Lewis & Clark and Linfield, and 13 tackles versus Whitworth.
During his first two seasons at Willamette, Stevenson has played in 18 games and contributed 105 total tackles. He has made 60 unassisted stops. After playing limited minutes as a freshman in 2016, he became a key player this season, as he started all nine games on defense.
Honorable Mention All-Northwest Conference
Chris Feskens (Sr., C) started eight games and missed one game due to injury this season. He provided blocking that helped the Willamette offense rush for 1,317 yards and 15 touchdowns on 308 carries. He also contributed to the Bearcats completing 56.8% of their passes for 1,705 yards and 10 touchdowns. Willamette averaged 335.8 total yards per game. The Bearcats gained over 400 yards in four games, including a season-high of 486 yards against Rhodes College (Tenn.) on Sept. 2. Feskens was named All-NWC for the first time.
Feskens played in 24 games during his Willamette career. He saw action in one game as a freshman in 2014, and then played in nine games as a sophomore in 2015 and in six games as a junior in 2016.
Jeremiah James (Sr./Jr., WR/KR) received All-NWC recognition for the first time. He was chosen as a kick return specialist after grabbing 24 kickoffs and returning them for an NWC-leading 590 yards. He averaged 24.6 yards per kickoff return, which ranked him second in the NWC behind teammate Joey Thurman (Sr., RB, Carson City, NV/Carson HS), who averaged 25.1 yards on 14 returns. James also gained 28 yards on 5 punt returns, and caught 25 passes for 233 yards and two touchdowns.
This year, James set a Willamette single game record with 162 kickoff return yards (5 returns) against Linfield on Oct. 7. The previous record was 140 kickoff return yards by Wes Randall against University of Puget Sound on Oct. 14, 2006.
In three seasons at WU, James has returned 59 kickoffs for a total of 1,414 yards for a career average of 24.0 yards per return. His career kickoff return yardage is second all-time at Willamette, trailing only the 1,537 yards by Tyson Giza from 2010-13.