BERKELEY – Three Cal players have been selected to 2013 All-Pac-12 Football Teams announced Friday by Athlon Sports and College Sports Madness. Cole Leininger (So., P) and Khalfani Muhammad (Fr., KR) were second and third-team selections on the all-conference team chosen by Athlon Sports, while Vincenzo D’Amato (Sr., PK) was a third-team pick of Athlon.
D’Amato was also a second-team choice of the league’s coaches earlier this month, while Leininger and Muhammad were both honored on post-season all-conference teams for the first time in their careers. D’Amato and Leininger also both earned honorable mention recognition on the Pac-12 All-Academic team announced last month.
13 – Vincenzo D’Amato, PK, 6-1, 205, Sr., Lake Forest, CA (El Toro HS) D'Amato connected on a career-high 17 of 20 field goal attempts to finish the 2013 regular season tied for second in the Pac-12 and tied for 26th nationally in ﬁeld goal percentage (85.0%), making all 14 of his attempts from inside 45 yards. He was also tied for third in the Pac-12 and tied for 22nd nationally with an average of 1.42 field goals made per contest. D’Amato led the Golden Bears in scoring with a career-high 82 points, adding a career-high 31 extra points on 32 attempts. In addition, he had a career-high 20 touchbacks on 57 kickoffs and threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Jackson Bouza on a fake field goal to cap Cal’s first drive of the season against Northwestern.
In addition to his Pac-12 all-conference and all-academic honors in 2013, D’Amato was one of 20 national semifinalists for the Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award and one of 30 final candidates for the Senior CLASS Award. He was also a Phil Steele fourth-team Midseason All-American and second-team Midseason All-Pac-12 selection.
D’Amato finished his collegiate career with 212 points, making 40-of-55 field goal attempts (72.7%) with a long of 52 at Washington State during his junior season and 92-of-96 extra-point tries (95.8%). He played in 35 games from 2009-13, including all 24 possible over his final two campaigns.
16 – Cole Leininger, P, 6-1, 200, So., Fruit Cove, FL (Bartram Trail HS) Leininger finished the 2013 regular season ranked second in Pac-12 and 32nd nationally with a 42.9 yard punting average that was a full three yards longer than his average during his 2012 freshman campaign. Leininger finished with 2,958 punting yards on 69 punts. He also registered the highest single-game average of his career (54.4 ypg) at Colorado and booted a 70-yard punt that was the longest of his career in the season-opener against Northwestern. Leininger had 14 punts of 50 or more yards, including at least one in nine of 12 contests. He also averaged 42.0 yards or more per punt in nine of 12 games. In addition, he pinned opponents inside their 20-yard line 14 times and forced 25 fair catches.
Leininger has played in all 24 possible games at Cal over the past two seasons and has a career 41.5 punting average.
29 – Khalfani Muhammad, RET, 5-8, 175, Fr., Los Angeles, CA (Notre Dame HS) Muhammad earned his all-conference honor as a kick returner after leading Cal and ranking second in the Pac-12 in kick return yardage (1,006) as well as fifth in the conference in yards per kick return (21.9 ypr) on 46 returns, with both his yardage and number of returns the most in school history. He was also Cal’s leader in all-purpose yardage (1,638) while ranking sixth in the conference with an average of 148.9 all-purpose yards per game. Muhammad also paced the Bears with 445 yards rushing, four touchdowns on the ground and an average of 6.0 yards per carry that was the highest among the team’s regulars. In addition, he added 14 catches for 187 yards and a touchdown. His five total touchdowns tied for the most on the team and gave him 30 points to rank tied for second on the squad in scoring. He also had the team’s longest rush of the season with a 73-yard touchdown run at Washington and longest kickoff return with a 52-yarder against Oregon State over 11 games played and one start.