The Official 2012 Finalists Press Release


Marty Burlsworth, CEO and founder, Burlsworth Foundation
Whitney Gaines, Mitchell Communications Group

Top Three Finalists Announced for Burlsworth Trophy

Winner to be named on Dec.3, fans encouraged to vote

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark., Nov. 27, 2012 – The three finalists for the 3rd annual Burlsworth Trophy have been selected and include Penn State quarterback, Matt McGloin; San Jose State tackle, David Quessenberry; and University of Michigan safety, Jordan Kovacs. The three finalists were chosen from 50 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 Monday, Dec. 3 in Springdale, Ark. and is presented by the Springdale Rotary Club.

The 2012 finalists are:

Matt McGloin, SR, Quarterback – Penn State

McGloin ends his career with the Nittany Lions ranked No. 1 in school history for career passing touchdowns (46), completions in a season (270), attempts in a season (446), passing yardage in a season (3,266) and passing touchdowns in a season (24). He helped Penn State finish the season 8-4, throwing for at least 200 yards and one touchdown in all 12 games. Penn State won eight of its final 10 games. McGloin, who redshirted as a freshman in 2008 and shared playing time in 2010 and 2011, threw for a career-high 398 yards and four touchdowns in a victory against Indiana. Currently McGloin, a May 2012 PSU graduate, ranks third in the Big Ten in total offense and fourth in pass efficiency. McGloin, 6-foot-1, 210 pounds, threw for 5,485 yards and 58 touchdowns in his career at West Scranton (Pa.) High School. Still, his only scholarship offer came from nearby Lehigh University.

David Quessenberry, SR, Tackle – San Jose State University

Quessenberry started 11 of 12 games this season in helping San Jose State to bowl eligibility for the first time since 2006. Quessenberry was voted a team captain prior to the season for the No. 25 Spartans, who are ranked in the BCS Standings for the first time. San Jose State has averaged 451.67 yards and 35.25 points per game this season with Quessenberry at left tackle. He earned a scholarship as a redshirt sophomore, starting 13 games and surrendering only two sacks against a schedule that included Alabama, Wisconsin, Utah and Boise State. Quessenberry, now 6-6, 291, was an inch shorter and 61 pounds lighter in high school. He had only one scholarship option, a Division III school, and San Jose is the only FBS team that offered him preferred walk-on status.

Jordan Kovacs, SR, Safety – University of Michigan

Kovacs ends the regular season with 65 tackles, including 41 solo stops, helping Michigan rank 12th nationally in total defense (311.17) and second in pass defense (155.17). He has started 45 of 49 games at safety since 2009 and recorded his 300th career tackle against Michigan State earlier this season. Kovacs was an honorable mention all-Big Ten pick as a junior, helping the Wolverines to a Sugar Bowl victory. Kovacs, 6-0, 202, was a highly decorated high school player and multi-sport standout at Clay High School in Toledo, Ohio. He had no scholarship offers out of high school and declined preferred walk-on status elsewhere to tryout at Michigan. Kovacs made the team on his first try, but had to sit out a year because of a knee injury. Once securing a spot on the team the following year he became a four-year starter.

Fans are allowed to vote for their favorite player via the AT&T Fan Vote. Voting can be accessed at and began with the top 10 semi-finalists and continues with the three finalists. Fans are limited to one vote per day, and the voting will conclude on Dec. 2 at 12 a.m. CST.

The Fan Vote counts as 5 percent during each round of voting, and it is combined with the results from the Selection Committee. Fans can cast their vote for the nation’s most outstanding player who began his career as a walk-on once per day. Fan Vote totals are cleared after each round.

Finalists will be honored and the winner of the 2012 Burlsworth Trophy announced Dec. 3 at a banquet in Springdale, Ark., sponsored by the Springdale Rotary Club.

The trophy is named in honor of Brandon Burlsworth. Without one D1 scholarship offer, Brandon walked on to the Razorback team in 1994, worked his way to being 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.

For more information about the Burlsworth Trophy, visit