FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Burlsworth Trophy Finalists Announced Five players who began as walk-ons recognized for outstanding achievements on the field.
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark., Dec. 1, 2010 – Today the Burlsworth Trophy committee announced the top five finalists for the inaugural Burlsworth Trophy award. The finalists include Sean Bedford, Georgia Tech; Josh McNary, Army; Nick Reveiz, Tennessee; Bryant Ward, Oklahoma State and Ryan Winterswyk, Boise State.
Sean Bedford, Georgia Tech
Bedford, a 6-1”, 281-pound senior center, is on track for a second consecutive All-ACC season. He anchors a Yellowjackets’ offensive line that has paved the way for a rushing offense that ranks No. 1 in the ACC and NCAA. Ivy League schools were interested in Bedford primarily for his academic abilities. No Division I schools offered him a scholarship and he chose Georgia Tech for its engineering program. Sporting News named the aerospace engineering major one of the 20 smartest athletes in the nation.
Josh McNary, Army
McNary, a 6-1”, 235-pound senior defensive end is among Army’s leaders with 41 tackles, including 12 for loss. His 9.5 sacks per game average ranks him in the Top 10 nationally this season. McNary is the all-time leader in sacks and tackles for loss at Army. He is fifth among active players in career sacks and career tackles for loss.
Nick Reveiz, Tennessee
Reveiz, a 5-10”, 224-pound senior linebacker, led the Volunteers with 94 tackles in the regular season, placing among the SEC’s most productive defenders. His six tackles for loss and two interceptions also placed him among the team leaders as Tennessee secured a bowl berth. Reveiz, who chose to walk on at Tennessee rather than take a scholarship at a smaller school, has enjoyed success beyond the field as well. He’s in line for a fourth SEC all-academic award and has earned his undergraduate degree in enterprise management.
Bryant Ward, Oklahoma State
Ward, a 5-11”, 237-pound senior fullback, is a key component of an OSU offense that leads the Big 12 in yards, scoring, passing and rushing. The Cowboys are ranked second nationally in total offense, thanks in no small part to Ward, whose blocking and versatility earned him All-Big 12 recognition in 2009. Ward grew up in OSU’s backyard, but warranted only a walk-on offer. No other Division I teams sought his services, but he has since become a weapon on offense and special teams.
Ryan Winterswyk, Boise State
Winterswyk, a 6-4”, 270-pound senior defensive end, leads the Broncos with seven tackles for loss. He has 2.5 sacks for the Broncos, who led the nation in sacks. A knee injury as a senior in high school limited Winterswyk’s college options, but Boise State granted his request to walk-on in 2007. He is now fourth on the school’s career tackles list and on pace to make a third consecutive all-WAC team. Winterswyk graduated with a degree in business management in May and is enrolled in graduate school.
“All five of these young men show talent on and off the field and are great representations of what the Burlsworth Trophy is all about,” said Marty Burlsworth, founder and CEO of the Burlsworth Foundation.
In honor of Brandon Burlsworth, former University of Arkansas walk-on and All-American offensive lineman, the award will be given to the collegiate player who began his career as a walk-on and has shown outstanding performance on the field. Nominees must have begun their first season of participation with a Division 1 (FBS) football program without financial aid of any kind from their athletic department.
Without one Division 1 scholarship offer, Brandon Burlsworth 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 in the second round 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 Burlsworth Foundation was created in his memory and supports the physical and spiritual needs of children, in particular those children that have limited opportunities.
The winner of the Burlsworth Trophy will be announced on Dec. 15. A banquet will be held in honor of the winner on Feb. 7, 2011 in Springdale, Ark. hosted by the Springdale Rotary Club.