Burlsworth Trophy Announces Nominees

Trophy honors most outstanding walk-on for eighth year


FAYETTEVILLE, AR, Oct. 31, 2017 – Today, the Burlsworth Trophy in conjunction with the Springdale (AR) Rotary Club announced the 63 players nominated from Division 1 (FBS) schools from across the country for the 2017 Burlsworth Trophy. In the award’s eighth year, the Trophy is named in honor of Brandon Burlsworth, former University of Arkansas Walk-On and All-American offensive lineman. Burlsworth’s life is also the subject of a major motion picture, “GREATER”, which was released last year.  The Burlsworth Trophy is given to the most outstanding football player in American who began his career as a Walk-On and has shown outstanding performance on the field. Each nominee must have begun his first season of participation with FBS (D1) football program without financial aid of any kind from his university’s athletic department.


The 2016 winner was quarterback Baker Mayfield from the University of Oklahoma. Mayfield is believed to be the only true freshman Walk-On QB in FBS history to start a season opener. He also led his Sooners to the college football playoffs in 2016.


The 2017 Burlsworth Trophy nominees are:



School Year Player Position
Akron SR Andrew Hauser LB
Arizona JR Christian Boettcher OL
Arizona State SR Jacom Brimhall RB
Arkansas SR Kevin Richardson II DB
Arkansas State SR Johnston White RB
Auburn JR Will Hastings WR
Baylor Soph Connor Martin K/P
Boise State JR Leighton Vander Esch WLB
Bowling Green JR Jake Suder K
Brigham Young JR Brayden El-Bakri FB
Buffalo SR Demone Harris DE
California JR Patrick Laird RB
Colorado SR Ryan Moeller S/OLB
Colorado State Soph Adam Prentice FB
Eastern Michigan SR Jaron Johnson WR
ECU SR Kiante Anderson DE
Florida Atlantic SR Antonyo Woods OL
Florida International SR Bryce Canady DB
Florida State SR Jared Jackson WR
Fresno State Soph Josh Hokit RB
Georgia SR Aaron Davis DB
Houston SR Linell Bonner WR
Indiana JR Luke Timian WR
Iowa JR Brandon Snyder DB
Kansas State SR Trent Tanking LB
Kentucky SR Charles Walker WR/PR
Marshall Soph Malik Gant S
Memphis SR Anthony Miller WR
Miami SR Michael Badgley K
Minnesota JR Emmit Carpenter K
Mississippi Soph Dawson Knox TE
Mississippi State RS Fr Jace Christmann K
Missouri SR Jordan Harold DE
Nebraska SR Chris Weber LB
Nevada SR Austin Corbett OL
New Mexico SR Jake Rothschiller DB
North Carolina JR Cole Holcomb LB
Ohio State SR Elijaah Goins WR
Oklahoma SR Baker Mayfield QB
Oklahoma State SR Brad Lundblade C
Old Dominion SR Bunmi Rotimi DE
Rice SR Joe Ballard LB
Rutgers SR Darnell Davis DL
San Diego State Soph Kahale Warring TE
San Jose State SR Michael Carrizosa P/KS
South Alabama JR Sam Harris WR
South Carolina JR Hayden Hurst TE
Southern California JR Reid Budrovich P
Syracuse SR Cole Murphy K
Tennessee SR Trevor Daniel P
Toledo SR Jack Linch LB
Tulsa SR Evan Plagg OT
UAB SR Tevin Crews LB
UCLA SR Giovanni Gentosi RB
Utah State SR Braelon Roberts WR
UTSA SR Dalton Sturm QB
Virginia Tech JR Steven Peoples RB
Wake Forest SR Grant Dawson ILB
Washington State SR Luke Falk QB
West Virginia SR Shane Commodore S
Western Kentucky SR Deon Yelder TE
Western Michigan Soph DeShawn Foster DL
Wisconsin SR Troy Fumagalli TE



“In the eighth year of this award, I continue to be in awe of the work ethic and determination of all our nominees.” said Marty Burlsworth, CEO and founder of the Burlsworth Foundation and older brother of Brandon. “Beginning their college career as a walk-on and overcoming incredible obstacles is truly inspiring.”


Without one D1 scholarship offer, Brandon Burlsworth walked on at the University of Arkansas in 1994. He became 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 Brandon Burlsworth Foundation, in conjunction with Springdale Rotary Club, will host an awards ceremony on December 4, 2017 in Springdale, AR to honor the three finalists and to announce the 2017 winner.