SPRINGDALE, Ark., Sept. 26, 2017- The Burlsworth Trophy, established to honor college football’s most outstanding player who began his career as a walk-on, is announcing the addition of three new members to the selection committee. Legendary Kansas City Chief and member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Bobby Bell, President and CEO of the Pro Football Hall of Fame David Baker and Super Bowl MVP and 2017 inductee into the Pro Football Hall of Fame Kurt Warner are now members of the Burlsworth Trophy selection committee.
“We are very excited and honored to have these three very distinguished men join the Burlsworth Trophy selection committee. These gentlemen understand and appreciate the journey that all of our nominees have taken,” said Marty Burlsworth, President and CEO of the Burlsworth Trophy and brother of the trophy’s namesake, Brandon Burlsworth. “Going from a walk-on to becoming a major contributor to your team is no small feat. It takes a great deal of faith, commitment and belief in one’s self.” The Burlsworth Trophy was created in 2010 and has many past winners, finalists and semi-finalists playing in the NFL.
Bobby Bell was the most highly honored college lineman of the 1962 season at the University of Minnesota. During his college career he was named All-American twice and was the winner of the 1962 Outland Trophy. Drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs in 1963 and playing linebacker, Bell was named All-AFL or All-NFL every year from 1965 through 1971. Inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1983, Bell was the first Chiefs player to receive this high honor.
Since being named the President of the Pro Football Hall of Fame in January of 2014, the leadership of David Baker has transformed the Hall of Fame. His physical stature – 6’9” and nearly 400 pounds – is overshadowed by his large vision for the Hall. He has embarked on an endeavor that has dramatically expanded the Hall of Fame’s brand by focusing on the organization’s powerful Mission to “Honor the Heroes of the Game, Preserve its History, Promote its Values & Celebrate Excellence EVERYWHERE.” Baker is also leading Johnson Controls Hall of Fame Village, a nearly $800 million mixed-use development project underway surrounding the Hall of Fame’s campus in Canton.
While the football narrative of NFL quarterback Kurt Warner reads like a rags-to-riches Hollywood script, it is the story of a man filled with dignity, class and undeniable faith that captured the imagination of the sports world and beyond. Warner continually beat the odds to quarterback two perennial doormat franchises to the Super Bowl and etched his name in the NFL record books along the way. In 2017 Warner was given the ultimate praise in professional football when he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
The Burlsworth Trophy is named in honor of Brandon Burlsworth. Without one D1 scholarship offer, Burlsworth walked on to the Razorback team in 1994, became a three-year starter, and was eventually named an All-American in 1998. Burlsworth was selected with 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 2017 Burlsworth Trophy presentation ceremony will be held December 4th in Springdale, Arkansas and is sponsored by the Springdale Rotary Club.
The Brandon Burlsworth Foundation was created in his memory and supports the physical and spiritual needs of children, in particular those children who have limited opportunities. Burlsworth’s life is also the subject of a major motion picture, “GREATER”, which was released nationally in 2016 and is now widely available on DVD and VOD.