Giza Named Third Team All-America by Beyond Sports Network

Selected as a Kickoff Return Specialist after Averaging 28.7 yards on 20 Returns

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

SALEM, ORE. -- Senior cornerback Tyson Giza (Salem, OR/Sprague HS) of Willamette University has been chosen Third Team All-America for NCAA Division III as a kickoff return specialist by the Beyond Sports Network. A total of 101 players from Division III received First Team, Second Team or Third Team honors, while another 43 earned Honorable Mention.

Giza returned 20 kickoffs for a total of 573 yards this season to average 28.7 yards per return. His kickoff return average ranked him first in the Northwest Conference and 17th in NCAA Division III.

He scored two touchdowns on his kickoff returns. The first touchdown covered 85 yards against Hardin-Simmons University in the season opener on Sept 6, 2013. He added his second touchdown on an 84-yard return against Pacific Lutheran University on Oct. 26. He had at least one kickoff return of 33 yards or more in seven of WU's nine games.

During his Willamette career, Giza gained a school record 1,537 kickoff return yards. He broke the previous record of 1,348 set by Jose Green ('11) from 2007-10.

In addition to returning kickoffs, he also returned punts this season and was a starter at cornerback for the WU defense. He averaged 9.7 yards on seven punt returns.

He was named Third Team All-West Region as a cornerback and a kick returner by

"Tyson has been a fantastic player for us," WU Head Coach Glen Fowles said. "He is one of the most gifted athletes we have had at Willamette and is a fierce competitor. Being an All-West Region selection at two positions is amazing, and being recognized as an All-American is deserved. We are extremely proud of Tyson and his accomplishments. Guys like that don't come around too often, and we were thrilled to have him on our team."

This fall he earned 641 return yards and 840 all-purpose yards. His all-purpose yardage included 129 yards – and a 45-yard touchdown -- on six catches as a wide receiver in his final game. He played on offense, defense and special teams against the University of Puget Sound on Nov. 16.

On defense, Giza earned 42 total tackles this season, including 33 unassisted. He concluded his career with 110 total tackles on 77 solo tackles and 33 assists.

He led the Bearcats and ranked second in the NWC with four interceptions this fall, which he returned a total of 70 yards. He also led Willamette with 11 pass break-ups. Among all players on the 242 teams in NCAA Division III, Giza ranked 13th in passes defended per game with 15 in nine games (1.7 avg.).

Giza was named First Team All-NWC at defensive back and kick returner this season. He previously earned Second Team All-NWC honors at defensive back in 2012 and was an Honorable Mention selection in 2011.

His career statistics include 13 interceptions and 24 pass break-ups in 37 games played. He also recovered two fumbles, forced a fumble and blocked a kick. He started 27 out of 28 games during his final three seasons from 2011 through 2013.

Willamette finished the 2013 season with a 7-2 overall record, including 4-2 in the Northwest Conference (3rd place). The Bearcats were ranked #25 in the final regular season NCAA Division III Coaches Poll released by the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA).

Beyond Sports Network
2013 All-America
Football Team

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Senior cornerback Tyson Giza averaged 28.7 yards per kickoff return to rank 17th in NCAA Division III this season. He also intercepted four passes and earned 11 pass break-ups.

Senior cornerback Tyson Giza averaged 28.7 yards per kickoff return to rank 17th in NCAA Division III this season. He also intercepted four passes and earned 11 pass break-ups.