Burlsworth Trophy Announces Nominees

Burlsworth Trophy Announces Nominees

Trophy honors most outstanding Walk-On for twelfth year


FAYETTEVILLE, AR, Nov. 2, 2021 – Today, the Burlsworth Trophy announced 89 players nominated from Division 1 (FBS) schools from across the country for the 2021 Burlsworth Trophy. In the award’s twelfth year, the Trophy is named in honor of Brandon Burlsworth, former University of Arkansas Walk-On and All-American offensive lineman. Burlsworth’s life is also the subject of a major motion picture, “GREATER”, which was released in 2016.  The Burlsworth Trophy is given to the most outstanding football player in American who began his career as a Walk-On and has shown outstanding performance on the field. Each nominee must have begun his first season of participation with FBS (D1) football program without financial aid of any kind from his university’s athletic department.


The 2020 winner was center Jimmy Morrissey from the University of Pittsburgh. After redshirting his freshman year in 2016, the following year Jimmy won a hotly contested battle with several scholarship players and began an incredible career where he was the Panthers’ starting center for 4 consecutive seasons. An All-ACC selection in only his second year, Jimmy was the first center in Pitt’s history to earn that distinction. In his junior year, he established himself as “the” top center in the ACC, while not surrendering a single sack the entire season. Before the 2020 season, he was selected team captain for the 2nd consecutive year as well as being named Phil Steele Preseason All-American.


The 2021 Burlsworth Trophy nominees are:


School Grade Player Position
Appalachian State SR Caleb Spurlin DE/HB
Arizona JR Stanley Berryhill III WR
Arizona State JR Case Hatch FB/TE
Arkansas SR Grant Morgan LB
Arkansas State JR Blake Grupe K
Auburn SR Barton Lester LB
Ball State SR Cody Rudy FB
Bowling Green SR Nate Needham PK
Brigham Young Soph Tyler Allgeier RB
Buffalo SR Jack Klenk OL
California SR Jake Tonges TE
Central Florida SR Anthony Montalvo DT/DE
Central Michigan SR Troy Hairston DE
Charlotte SR Chris Reynolds QB
Cincinnati SR Ryan Royer LB
Coastal Carolina SR CJ Schrimpf LS
Colorado JR Brady Russell TE
Colorado State SR Thomas Pannunzio DB
Duke SR Jackson Hubbard H
East Carolina Soph Tyler Snead WR
Eastern Michigan JR Hassan Beydoun WR
Florida JR Marco Ortiz LS
Florida Atlantic RSF Nicholas Marino LS
Florida State RSF Treshaun Ward RB
Fresno State JR Erik Brooks WR
Georgia SR Stetson Bennett QB
Georgia State SR Tucker Gregg RB
Georgia Tech SR Djimon Brooks DL
Hawaii JR Eliki Tanuvasa OL
Illinois SR Donny Navarro III WR
Indiana JR Davion Ervin-Poindexter RB
Iowa SR Jack Koerner S
Iowa State SR Derek Schweiger OL
Kansas State SR Landry Weber WR
Kentucky SR Matthew Ruffolo PK
Liberty SR Thomas Sargeant OL
Louisiana JR Shane Vallot C
Louisiana Tech SR Ezekiel Barnett LB
Marshall SR Nazeeh Johnson S
Maryland SR Greg Rose DL
Memphis SR Calvin Austin III WR
Michigan SR Andrew Vastardis C
Middle Tennessee State JR Chase Cunningham QB
Minnesota SR Jordan Howden DB
Mississippi SR Mark Robinson LB
Mississippi State JR Christian Ford WR
Missouri SR Barrett Banister WR
Nebraska Soph Luke Reimer LB
Nevada SR Sam Hammond DE
New Mexico RSF Cody Moon LB
North Carolina State SR Thayer Thomas WR
Northern Illinois SR Matt Ference P
Northwestern SR Chris Bergin LB
Ohio State SR Mitch Rossi TE
Oklahoma JR Drake Stoops WR
Old Dominion Soph Leroy Thomas RG
Oregon JR Ryan Walk RG/C
Oregon State JR Jaydon Grant DB
Penn State SR Chris Stoll LS
Rice JR Campbell Riddle LS
Rutgers SR Billy Taylor LS
San Diego State SR Segun Olubi LB
San Jose State SR Trevor Robbins OL
SMU QB Derek Green QB
South Carolina SR Jaylan Foster S
Stanford SR Brycen Tremayne WR
Syracuse SR Andre Szymt PK
Tennessee Soph Dayne Davis OL
Texas JR Luke Brockermeyer LB
Texas A & M JR Connor Choate DS
Texas State JR Chandler Speights WR
Toledo Soph Devin Maddox WR/PR
Troy SR Carlton Martial LB
Tulane SR Merek Glover K
Tulsa SR Zack Long (Zachary) PK
UAB SR Hayden Pittman TE
UCLA JR Greg Dulcich TE
UNLV SR Daniel Gutierrez PK
Utah Fresh Karene Reid LB
Utah State SR Nick Heninger DE
UTSA SR Hunter Duplessis PK
Virginia JR Brendan Farrell PK
Wake Forest Fresh Nick Andersen DB
Washington SR Race Porter P
Washington State SR Armani Marsh N
West Virginia JR Casey Legg K
Western Kentucky JR Joey Beljan TE
Wisconsin SR Matt Henningsen DE
Wyoming SR Garrett Crall DE



“What a privilege it is to recognize these young men each year, those that chose to take on the challenge of beginning their college career as a Walk-On,” said Marty Burlsworth, President and CEO of the Burlsworth Trophy and older brother of Brandon. “We are excited to celebrate the achievements of these 89 players nominated for the 2021 Burlsworth Trophy. These extraordinary young men have put in the work and have earned this honor.”


Without one D1 scholarship offer, Brandon Burlsworth walked on at the University of Arkansas in 1994. He became a three-year starter and was eventually named an All-American in 1998. Burlsworth was selected as the 63rd overall pick by the Indianapolis Colts in the 1999 NFL draft, but was tragically killed in a car accident 11 days later. The Burlsworth Foundation was created in his memory and supports the physical and spiritual needs of children, in particular those children who have limited opportunities.


The Burlsworth Trophy award ceremony to honor the three finalists and to announce the 2021 winner will be on December 6th at 7:00pm CST at Crystal Bridges Museum in Bentonville, Arkansas.


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