The Official 2011 Finalists Press Release


Top Three Finalists Announced for Burlsworth Trophy

Winner to be named at Dec. 9, fans encouraged to vote

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark., Nov. 29, 2011 – The three finalists for the 2nd annual Burlsworth Trophy have been selected and include Southern Mississippi Quarterback, Austin Davis; Houston Wide Receiver, Patrick Edwards; and Stanford Wide Receiver, Griff Whalen. The three finalists were chosen from 51 nominees from across the nation and last week were narrowed to 10 semi-finalists. The Burlsworth Trophy is awarded to the most outstanding college football player in America who began his career as a walk on. The winner will be announced at a ceremony on Dec. 9 in Springdale, Ark. and is presented by the Springdale Rotary Club.M

The 2011 finalists are:

Griff Whalen, SR, Wide Receiver – Stanford University

Whalen, who began his college career at safety, has seen his productivity rise in the Cardinal offense each of the last three seasons. This year Whalen has a team-high 49 catches for 664 yards and four TD’s, helping the Cardinal to a No. 4 ranking in the BCS Standings. Stanford has accepted an invitation to play in the Fiesta Bowl. Whalen has started nine of 12 games in 2011, the highest total of his career. He entered the season with 24 receptions for 309 yards with one touchdown. Whalen, the roommate of Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck, averages 13.6 yards per catch.

Patrick Edwards, SR, Wide Receiver – University of Houston

Edwards is the all-time leader in career receiving yards (4,279) and TD’s (41) for a presently 19th-ranked Houston Cougar team. His 79 catches have yielded 1,524 yards and an NCAA-leading 18 touchdowns this season to help Houston secure a spot in the Conference-USA title game which they lost to Southern Miss 28-49. Edwards, 5-9, 175 pounds, has recorded a catch in 47 consecutive games and his 41 touchdowns rank first in school history and No. 2 in C-USA. He has recorded three consecutive seasons with 1,000 or more receiving yards and the preseason Belitnikoff Watch List member was named 1st Team All-Conference in 2010 and 2009. Edwards missed much of 2008 with a broken leg, but has come back from the injury to be one of the most prolific receivers in C-USA and Houston history.

Austin Davis, SR, Quarterback – University of Southern Mississippi

Davis won’t make folks at Southern Miss forget Brett Favre, but the four-year starter has managed to supplant the legendary quarterback in the program’s record books, including passing yardage (10,727), TD passes (81), completion percentage (61.57), and total offense (12,082). Davis, 6-2, 221-pounds, has thrown for 3,331 yards and 28 touchdowns this season in leading the Eagles to a 11-2 record and winning the 2011 Conference USA championship over a previously unbeaten and 6th ranked Houston Cougars. He has started every game of his college career except for 2009 when injury kept him out of eight games. Davis’ accolades include the 2008 New Orleans Bowl MVP and Freshman All-American. Davis, who had only two scholarship offers out of high school, has also been recognized off the field as an all-academic selection for C-USA. He graduated in 2010 with a degree in business administration.

Fan Vote – Fans are encouraged to continue voting for their favorite player via the AT&T Fan Vote beginning today at 3 pm CST at: Fans are limited to one vote per day and the voting will conclude Dec. 7, at 5 pm CST. The Fan Vote counts as 5 percent in each round and will be combined with the Selection Committee vote to determine the winner.

The Trophy is named in honor of Brandon Burlsworth. Without any Division 1 scholarship offer, Brandon walked on to the Razorback football team in 1994, worked his way to becoming 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 that have limited opportunities.