Nov. 26, 2012
WALNUT CREEK - First-team selections Vincenzo D'Amato (Jr., PK) and Brian Schwenke (Sr., OL) highlighted eight players from Cal selected for the 2012 All-Pac-12 Football Team announced by the conference on Monday. Keenan Allen (Jr., WR), Brendan Bigelow (So., RS), Josh Hill (Sr., DB), Chris McCain (So., LB), Avery Sebastian (So., ST) and Steve Williams (Jr., DB) were honorable mention picks.
Allen was the only one of the eight to have been previously honored on the all-conference squad selected by the league's coaches, having earned a first-team selection as a wide receiver in 2011.
D'Amato ended the Pac-12's regular season that concluded last Saturday as the conference's leader in field goals made (1.33 fgmpg) while ranking fifth in field goal percentage (16-23, 69.6%). He is currently tied for 32nd nationally in field goals made. D'Amato scored a team and career-high 78 points in 2012, making added 30-of-33 extra points to his 16 field goals while ranking seventh in the conference in scoring among kickers (6.5 ppg) and tied for 13th in the conference. D'Amato made 11 consecutive field goals at one point during the campaign. He is Cal's active career leader with 130 points, making 23-of-35 field goals and 61-of-64 extra-point attempts.
Schwenke was one of only five players to start each of the team's 12 games along with fellow all-conference honorees Hill and Williams. Schwenke finished his career with 36 starts and 48 games played out of a possible total of 50 over his four seasons with the Bears. After making each of his first 24 starts at either left guard (16) or right guard (8) during the 2010 and 2011 campaigns, Schwenke moved to center last spring and made all 12 of his starts in 2012 at the position. He added his first career reception for three yards in 2012 after coming up with a batted ball.
Allen finished with team highs of 61 receptions, 737 receiving yards and six touchdown catches in 2012 despite missing the final three games due to injury. He currently ranks third in the Pac-12 and 22nd nationally in receptions (6.78 rpg), as well as sixth in the league and 37th nationally in receiving yards (81.89 ypg). In addition, he leads the conference and ranks seventh nationally in punt returns with an average of 14.13 yards per return, while ranking ninth in the conference and 64th nationally in all-purpose yardage (109.78), and 23rd in the Pac-12 in scoring (5.33 ppg). In his final game of the season at Utah, he became Cal's all-time leader in receptions with 205 to surpass former record-holder Geoff McArthur (202, 2000-04). Through 33 games over his first three seasons at Cal with at least one catch in each one, he also has 2,570 career receiving yards to rank third all-time at the school and 17 touchdown catches to rank seventh. He is also only the second player in Cal history to have two single seasons among the school's top-10 all-time in receptions. His 98 receptions for 1,343 yards in 2011 were both second, while his 61 receptions in 2012 ranked ninth.
Bigelow earned his all-conference spot as a kick returner as he averaged 23.14 yards per return to rank sixth in the Pac-12 and 52nd nationally. Bigelow finished with 35 kick returns for 805 yards, which was the highest total in both categories by a Cal player since Lavelle Hawkins returned 42 kicks for 922 yards in 2007. Bigelow had 333 of his kick return yards on 15 attempts in the team's final two contests, bringing back seven for a career-high 171 yards vs. Oregon, including a season-long 57-yarder, and a career-high eight for 162 yards against Oregon State. Bigelow led the team with 1,328 all-purpose yards with an average of 111.1 yards per game to rank eighth in the Pac-12, adding 431 yards and three touchdowns on the ground on 44 carries for an average of 9.8 yards per rush and 92 receiving yards and one touchdown on seven catches. He had a career-high 160 yards rushing and two touchdowns on only four carries at Ohio State as he became only the second FBS player in the last decade to post 150 or more yards rushing on five or fewer carries. He was also the first Cal player since Jahvid Best in 2009 with three or more runs of 50-plus yards on a pair of scoring jaunts at Ohio State of 81 and 59 yards, as well as a 57-yard TD rush at Utah. He has 1,839 career all-purpose yards in his first two seasons at Cal as he has returned 58 kicks for 1,280 yards and a touchdown, while adding 456 yards and three touchdowns on the ground, and eight receptions for 103 yards and a touchdown.
Hill led the team in tackles with a career-high 87 stops in his final season at Cal to rank ninth in the Pac-12 with an average of 7.2 stops per contest. He also added an interception and a forced fumble, as well as nine pass breakups and 10 passes defended to rank second on the club in each of the latter two categories. Hill finished his career with 214 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss (-18 yards), 1.0 sack (-4 yards), five interceptions with 46 return yards, 24 pass breakups, 29 passes defended, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries in 48 games played and 32 starts. His 24 career pass breakups rank 10th on the school's all-time list. McCain co-led the team with career highs of 8.5 tackles for loss (-38 yards), 3.5 sacks (-27 yards) and four quarterback hurries in 2012. He also added a career-high 50 tackles, one pass breakup and a fumble recovery in 11 games and 10 starts. McCain has two-year career totals of 79 tackles, 14.5 tackles for loss (-50 yards), 5.0 sacks (-28 yards), one pass breakup and one fumble recovery in 21 games and 16 starts.
Sebastian picked up his honor as a non-returner or kicker on special teams, while also seeing plenty of action in the team's defensive backfield. He played in 11 games with four starts, finishing the season with 56 tackles to rank sixth on the club, while adding 1.5 tackles for loss (-5 yards), one pass breakup and one quarterback hurry.
Williams shared the club lead with three interceptions, while his 10 pass breakups and 13 passes defended were both team highs, with the latter ranking tied for sixth in the conference with a per-game average of 1.08. He was also third among all Cal players and tied for 15th in the Pac-12 with 80 tackles and an average of 6.7 stops per game and fourth on the team with 7.0 tackles for loss (-18 yards), while adding one forced fumble. His career totals include 150 tackles, 9.0 tackles for loss (-22 yards), 1.0 sack (-2 yards), six interceptions with 45 return yards, 25 pass breakups, 31 passes defended and three forced fumbles.
The conference's annual awards were also announced on Tuesday. USC's Marqise Lee was the Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year, while Arizona State's Will Sutton took home the Pat Tillman Defensive Player of the Year honors. Stanford's David Shaw was voted the conference's Coach of the Year. The conference's other top honors went to Oregon's Marcus Mariota (Offensive Freshman of the Year) and USC's Leonard Williams (Defensive Freshman of the Year).