Burlsworth Trophy Announces Nominees




John Engleman, Mitchell





Burlsworth Trophy Announces Nominees

Trophy honors most outstanding walk-on for ninth year


FAYETTEVILLE, AR, Oct. 30, 2018 – Today, the Burlsworth Trophy in conjunction with the Springdale (AR) Rotary Club announced the 70 players nominated from Division 1 (FBS) schools from across the country for the 2018 Burlsworth Trophy. In the award’s ninth 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 2017 winner was quarterback Luke Falk from Washington State University. A three-year starter for WSU, Falk broke the PAC-12 record for career passing yards during his senior season. He is now a member of the Miami Dolphins. The 2015 and 2016 winner was Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield who was the first pick in the 2018 NFL draft.


The 2018 Burlsworth Trophy nominees are:


       School                              Year             Player                            Position


Alabama SR Jamey Mosley LB
Appalachian State JR Noel Cook OLB
Arkansas JR Connor Limpert K
Arkansas State RS Fresh Blake Grupe K
Auburn SR Tucker Brown TE
Ball State JR Riley Miller WR
Baylor JR Ross Matisick LS
Brigham Young SR Gavin Fowler DB
California SR Patrick Laird RB
Clemson SR Hunter Renfrow WR
Coastal Carolina JR Ky’Jon Tyler WR
Colorado SR Kyle Evans RB
Colorado State Soph Adam Prentice FB
East Carolina SR Nate Harvey DE
Eastern Michigan Soph Freddie McGee III DB
Florida Atlantic SR Gerald Hearns RB/ST
Fresno State SR George Helmuth LB
Georgia State JR Brandon Wright P/PK
Hawaii JR Kaimana Padello DL
Houston SR Roman Brown LB
Indiana SR Luke Timian WR
Iowa SR Jake Gervase FS
Iowa State JR Braxton Lewis S
Kansas State JR Dalton Schoen WR
Kent State SR Matt Bahr LB
Kentucky SR David Bouvier WR
Marshall JR Malik Gant S
Massachusetts SR Joe Previte DL
Memphis JR Austin Hall OLB
Michigan State JR Kenny Willekes DE
Minnesota SR Blake Cashman LB
Mississippi State Soph Jace Christmann PK
Nebraska JR Jacob Weinmaster ILB
Nevada SR Lucas Weber LB
New Mexico JR Aaron Overacker TE
New Mexico State JR Anthony Muse WR
North Carolina SR Cole Holcomb LB
Notre Dame SR Chris Finke WR
Ohio State SR Kevin Woidke OL
Oklahoma JR Lee Morris WR
Oklahoma State SR Taylor Cornelius QB
Old Dominion JR Blake LaRussa QB
Oregon SR Kaulana Apelu LB
Oregon State Soph Conor Blount QB
Penn State JR Jan Johnson LB
Pittsburgh SR Oluwaseun Idowu LB
San Diego State JR Kahale Warring TE
SMU SR Garrett Stotts LS
South Carolina SR Jacob August TE
Southern California SR Wyatt Schmidt H/S
Syracuse RS Fresh Andre Szmyt K
Temple SR Rob Ritrovato FB
Tennessee SR Paul Bain DL
Texas A&M SR Cullen Gillaspia FB/ST
Texas Tech SR Ja’Deion High WR
Toledo SR Ka’dar Hollman CB
Troy SR Hunter Reese LB/DE
Tulane SR Brian Newman WR
Tulsa SR Cole Neph TE
UCF Soph Greg McCrae RB
UCLA SR Christian Pabico WR
Utah State SR Quin Ficklin OC
UTSA Soph Jared Sackett PK
Virginia SR Lester Coleman P
Wake Forest JR Jack Freudenthal TE
West Virginia Soph Evan Staley K
Western Kentucky JR Ben Holt LB
Western Michigan SR Odell Miller TE
Wisconsin SR Ryan Connelly ILB
Wyoming SR Marcus Epps FS


“We are now in our ninth year of this award and I’m amazed at the inspiring stories we hear each year.” said Marty Burlsworth, CEO and founder of the Brandon Burlsworth Foundation and older brother of Brandon. “Beginning your college career as a walk-on is certainly not an easy thing to do. These young men accepted that challenge, when others told them ‘you can’t’, they said ‘I can!’”


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 Brandon Burlsworth Foundation, in conjunction with Springdale Rotary Club, will host an awards ceremony on December 3, 2018 in Springdale, AR to honor the three finalists and to announce the 2018 winner.



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