FAYETTEVILLE, Ark., Nov. 17, 2015 – Today, the Burlsworth Trophy selection committee and the Springdale Rotary Club announce the top 10 semi-finalists for the 2015 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 new major motion picture, “GREATER”, which will be released on January 22, 2016.
The 2015 semi-finalists include:
Jordan Simone, Arizona State, Safety, SR – After originally walking on at Washington State and playing mostly on special teams, Simone transferred to ASU. By the end of last season, he had been named All-Pac-12 Honorable Mention, as well as receiving ASU’s Darren Woodson Outstanding Secondary Award. He was 1st on the team with 8.3 tackles per game recording 100 total tackles. As a senior, he was named Team Captain and the only captain from the defense. This season he was named a semi-finalist for the Jim Thorpe Award (one of only 16 nationally and the only player from the Pac-12). He ranks 1st in the Pac-12 and 3rd in the nation in solo tackles.
Tyler Williams, Marshall, P, SR – Williams was named Freshman All-American after a record-setting season in 2012 with a punting average of 45.19 YPP surpassing the previous record set in 1994. After having a solid 2013 sophomore season, he finished his junior season by being voted 1st Team All-Conference USA. Now in his senior season, he has been named a Ray Guy Award Nominee, is 2nd in the nation in yards (2,752), 3rd in punts (62), 14th in average (44.4).
Alan Cross, Memphis, TE, SR – Originally walked on at Memphis as a long snapper but converted to TE and now has 40 starts at that position. After seeing solid playing time in each of his first 2 seasons, and being named to the 2012 Conference USA All-Freshman Team, Cross came on even more in his junior year. He finished the season with 28 catches for 343 yards and was chosen 2014 AAC All-Conference 1st Team. He is currently the all-time touchdown leader for TE’s at Memphis, and is on the Mackey Award Midseason Watch List.
Ryan Glasgow, Michigan, DT, SR – Glasgow earned his first varsity letter in his sophomore year playing in 11 games as a reserve defensive lineman. He made 11 starts in his junior year while recording 22 tackles, 4 TFL’s, and 1 forced fumble. In 2015 Glasgow has started every game for the Wolverines who rank 8thnationally in rushing defense, 6th in scoring defense, and 2nd in total defense.
Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma, QB, JR – Mayfield began his career at Texas Tech and was a 2013 Burlsworth Trophy top 10 selection. While at Texas Tech, he earned Big 12 Offensive Freshman of the Year. He is believed to be the only true freshman Walk-On QB in FBS history to start a season opener. The following year, he walked on at Oklahoma. After sitting out the 2014 season, Mayfield has really taken his game to a new level. He has started every game and has thrown for 3,082 yards and 31 TD’s. He ranks 2nd in the nation in passing efficiency at 183.9, and 10th in total offense at 338.3 YPG. Oklahoma currently has a record of 9-1 and is ranked #7 in the AP poll. Mayfield is projected as a potential Heisman Trophy candidate.
T. J. Ricks, Old Dominion, LB, JR – After playing mostly on special teams his Freshman year, Ricks had a breakout sophomore season recording 80 tackles, and finished 2nd on the team in TFL’s. Now in his junior season, Ricks is the defensive leader, and leads the team with 103 tackles. His 10.3 tackles per game leads Conference USA and is ranked 11th in the nation. He is 8 tackles shy of setting the ODU single-season record for tackles.
Carl Nassib, Penn State, DE, SR – After not seeing action in 2011 or 2012, Nassib played in 23 games the next 2 years, and has now become a full time starter and national statistical leader in his senior season. Nassib leads the FBS in sacks (1.55 SPG) and TFL’s (2.0 TFLPG). He has 46 tackles so far this year, and his 15.5 sacks moves him to 3rd place on PSU’s single season sack list. He is on the Bednarik Award Watch List for the nation’s top defensive player, was named to CBS Sports, ESPN.com and SI.com Midseason All-American teams. Additionally, he was selected to the CBS Sports Eye on College Football National Defensive Midpoint Player of the year. Carl has the distinction of never starting a single game of HS football.
Robert Hunter Williams, Wake Forest, OLB, SR – 2013 was a breakout season for Williams, playing in 11 games and starting 9 while recording 39 tackles. He was a Team Captain in 2014 and amassed 60 tackles that year. He was chosen as a Team captain in 2015 for a 2nd consecutive year. He was named to the Pre-Season All-ACC Team. He currently leads team in TFL’s (7.5), 2nd in sack (3.0). He has 47 total tackles so far this year.
Luke Falk, Washington State, QB, SO – In Falk’s RS freshman year, he appeared in 6 games (starting the final 3) completing 156-243 pass attempts for 1,859 yards with 13 TD’s and 7 INT’s. This season, he has been named a semi-finalist for the Davey O’Brien Award, and was named 2-time Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week. He currently leads the NCAA in passing YPG at 406.7, and leads the NCAA in total passing yards with 4,067, and ranks 3rd in total offense at 395.7 YPG. He is the fastest player in WSU history to reach 4,000 passing yards (12 games).
Joe Schobert, Wisconsin, OLB, SR – Schobert has earned 4 letters while at Wisconsin, starting every game his junior and senior seasons. He was a major contributor during his junior season on a Badger team that was ranked 4th nationally in total defense. This, his senior season, he was named Big 10 Defensive Player of the Week vs. Iowa Oct. 3rd. He is a Semi-Finalist for the Bednarik and Lombardi Awards, and is on the Lott IMPACT Watch List. Schobert is 2nd on his team with 58 tackles, personally ranks No. 7 in the nation with 9.5 sacks, and ranks No. 11 nationally with 15.5 TFL’s. He anchors a defense that ranks No. 1 in the nation in scoring defense.
Fans will be allowed to vote for their favorite player via the “GREATER” Fan Vote beginning today, Nov. 17 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. 22nd 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. 24th. Finalists will be honored and the winner of the 2015 Burlsworth Trophy announced Dec. 7th 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.
The “GREATER” 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.
For more information about the Burlsworth Trophy, visit www.burlsworthtrophy.com .