FAYETTEVILLE, Ark., Nov. 9, 2021 – Today, the Burlsworth Trophy selection committee announces the top 10 semi-finalists for the 2021 award. The Burlsworth Trophy is awarded to the most outstanding football player in America who began his career as a walk-on. Brandon Burlsworth’s life is also the subject of a major motion picture, “GREATER”, which was released nationally in 2016.
The 2020 winner was center Jimmy Morrissey from the University of Pittsburgh. After redshirting his freshman year in 2016, the following year Jimmy won a hotly contested battle with several scholarship players and began an incredible career where he was the Panthers’ starting center for 4 consecutive seasons. An All-ACC selection in only his second year, Jimmy was the first center in Pitt’s history to earn that distinction. In his junior year, he established himself as “the” top center in the ACC, while not surrendering a single sack the entire season. Before the 2020 season, he was selected team captain for the 2nd consecutive year as well as being named Phil Steele Preseason All-American. He is now the center for the Houston Texan’s.
The 2021 semi-finalists include:
SchoolGradePlayerPositionArkansasSeniorGrant MorganLinebackerCharlotteSeniorChris ReynoldsQuarterbackGeorgiaSeniorStetson BennettQuarterbackIowa StateSeniorDerek SchweigerOffensive LinemanLibertySeniorThomas SargeantOffensive LinemanMemphisSeniorCalvin Austin IIIWide ReceiverNorthwesternSeniorChris BergenLinebackerOregonJuniorRyan WalkRight Guard/CenterTroySeniorCarlton MartialLinebackerWisconsinSeniorMatt HenningsenDefensive End
The selection committee will announce the top three Burlsworth Trophy finalists on November 16th. Finalists will be honored and the winner of the 2021 Burlsworth Trophy will be announced on December 6th at 7:00pm CST at Crystal Bridges Museum in Bentonville, Arkansas.
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.
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For more information about the Burlsworth Trophy, visit burlsworthtrophy.com.