FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
John Engleman, Mitchell Communications Group
Burlsworth Trophy Announces Semi-Finalists
Fans can vote for their favorite player
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark., Nov. 8, 2016 – Today, the Burlsworth Trophy selection committee and the Springdale Rotary Club announce the top 10 semi-finalists for the 2016 award. The Burlsworth Trophy is awarded to the most outstanding football player in America who began his career as a walk-on. Burlsworth’s life is also the subject of a major motion picture, “GREATER”, which was released earlier this year.
The 2016 semi-finalists include:
Toby Baker, Arkansas, Punter, SR – Baker was named to the Ray Guy Award Watch List in the preseason and is currently averaging 40.2 yards per punt for the Razorbacks. He is tied for second nationally with 16 punts of more than 50 yards and has a long of 59 yards this season, coming in a 41-38 victory at TCU. Baker, who earned a scholarship after the 2015 season, has averaged more than 50 yards-per-punt in two games this season.
Mitchell Paige, University of Indiana, Wide Receiver/Return Specialist, SR — No FBS schools offered Paige a scholarship out of high school and he appeared in three games as a punt returner and wide receiver as a freshman. Paige has 100 career receptions for 1,177 yards and eight touchdowns, including 43 catches for 493 yards and two touchdowns this season. His touchdowns this season came against No. 2 Ohio State and No. 17 Michigan State. Paige had a season-high nine catches for 101 yards against Nebraska.
Trever Ryen, Iowa State University, Wide Receiver/Punt Returner, JR — Ryen has caught 28 passes for 303 yards and two touchdowns this season for the Cyclones. He also has a 55-yard punt return. He was a sprinter for the University of Northern Iowa before enrolling at Iowa State in hopes of walking on the football team. Last season Ryen was one of only eight players in the country to score a touchdown by rush, catch and punt return.
J.D. Moore, Louisiana State University, Fullback, JR — Moore walked on at LSU after receiving scholarship offers from FCS-level schools Northwestern State and McNeese State. He was awarded a scholarship in 2015 prior to his sophomore season and started six games, primarily as a blocker for tailback Leonard Fournette. This year Moore has played in all of the Tigers’ games and he is a two-time All-SEC Honor Roll selection.
Dylan Utter, University of Nebraska, Center, SR — Utter moved to center prior to the season and has started all of the Cornhuskers’ games so far this season, helping the team rank second in the country and first in the Big Ten with .67 sacks allowed. Utter started all 13 games at left guard as a junior and the team allowed just 14 sacks, ninth in the country. North Dakota State and Army were the only schools to offer Utter a scholarship out of high school.
Austin Carr, Northwestern University, Wide Receiver, SR — Carr ranks 10th in the country with 1,010 yards receiving so far this season and seventh with 10 touchdowns for the Wildcats. He has eclipsed 125 yards receiving in six games and caught eight passes for a career-high 158 yards against Ohio State. Carr received no scholarship offers out of high school and was awarded a scholarship in 2015. Last season he averaged 18.9 yards per catch. For his career Carr has 93 catches for 1,412 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Baker Mayfield, University of Oklahoma, Quarterback, JR — Mayfield, who began his career as a walk-on at Texas Tech, won the Burlsworth Trophy and was named the Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year after the 2015 season. This has been another prolific season for Mayfield, who has thrown for 2,912 yards with 31 touchdowns and 6 interceptions. Mayfield ranks third in the country in touchdowns and first in yards per attempt at 10.7. He threw for a school-record seven touchdowns against Texas Tech earlier this season.
Haason Reddick, Temple University, Defensive Lineman, SR — Reddick, who had no FBS scholarship offers out of high school, is second on the team with 46 tackles this season. He’s recorded 18 tackles for loss with 8.5 sacks. Reddick currently ranks second in the country in tackles-for-loss. Temple ranks No. 7 in the country in total defense and No. 12 in tackles for loss. Reddick earned his first start as a junior and finished the season with 45 tackles, including 12.5 for loss.
Luke Falk, Washington State University, Quarterback, JR — Falk chose to attend Washington State as a preferred walk-on and since appearing in six games as a redshirt freshman, Falk has thrown for 9,657 yards with 79 touchdowns and 20 interceptions. This season Falk has thrown for 3,237 yards with 28 touchdowns and 5 interceptions. Falk was a Burlsworth Trophy finalist and Sports Illustrated honorable mention All-American in 2015 after completing 69.4 percent of his passes for 38 touchdowns and eight interceptions.
Dare Ogunbowale, University of Wisconsin, Running Back, SR — Ogunbowale is averaging 5.2 yards per carry for the Badgers and has rushed for 350 yards and two touchdowns on 67 carries. He ran for a career-high 120 yards in a 23-17 victory against Nebraska. Ogunbowale, a team captain, began his football career as a junior in high school and enrolled at Wisconsin as a general student before joining the team as a walk-on and earning the final spot on the Badgers’ 105-man roster.
Fans will be allowed to vote for their favorite player via the “GREATER” Fan Vote beginning today, Nov. 8 at 2:00 PM CST. Fans are limited to one vote per day, and the voting for the semi-finalist round will conclude on Nov. 13 at midnight CST. Voting can be accessed at www.burlsworthtrophy.com and will begin with the top 10 semi-finalists and continue as the selection committee announces the top three Burlsworth Trophy finalists on Nov. 15th. Finalists will be honored and the winner of the 2016 Burlsworth Trophy announced Dec. 5th 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 who have limited opportunities.