SPRINGDALE, Ark. (burlsworthtrophy.com) – The Burlsworth Trophy and presenting sponsor, the Springdale (Ark.) Rotary Club, announced the 10 student-athletes selected as semifinalists for the 2013 Burlsworth Trophy with Virginia Tech senior linebacker Jack Tyler earning one of the semifinal spots. Fifty-three players were originally nominated for the award.
The Burlsworth Trophy is given to the most outstanding collegiate football player who began his career as a walk-on. A walk-on is defined as a player who began his first season of participation with a Division I (FBS) football program without financial aid of any kind from his university’s athletic department.
The 2012 winner was Penn State quarterback Matt McGloin, who set nine school records during his senior year and made his first NFL start last week for the Oakland Raiders. Previous Burlsworth Trophy winners were Southern Mississippi quarterback Austin Davis in 2011, and Georgia Tech center Sean Bedford in 2010.
Fans are allowed to vote for their favorite player via the Fan Vote at www.burlsworthtrophy.com. Fans are limited to one vote per day, and the voting will conclude Sunday, Nov. 24, at midnight CST. The Fan Vote counts as 5 percent during each round of voting, and it is combined with the results from the Selection Committee. Fan Vote totals are cleared after each round.
The trophy is named in honor of Brandon Burlsworth, who walked on to the Arkansas Razorbacks 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 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 2013 Burlsworth Trophy semifinalists are:
Senior, Wide Receiver, Wisconsin
In 2011, Jared was named honorable mention All-American punt returner, ranking third in the nation. He was also a consensus honorable mention All-Big Ten wide receiver, leading his team with 933 yards. In 2012, he averaged 72.9 receiving yards per game, which ranked him second in the nation, and he ranked fourth nationally with 837 total receiving yards. In 2013, he leads the Badgers and is fourth in the Big Ten in both receptions (54) and receiving yards (849), and is a mid-season top 5 pick for the Biletnikoff Award, honoring the nation’s top receiver. Jared is a three-time Nominee and two-time semifinalist for the Burlsworth Trophy.
Senior, Guard, Missouri
When Max arrived on campus in 2009, he quickly established himself as one of the hardest workers on the team. After working on the scout team for three years, he started 11 games at guard in 2012, and after the season he was given the Unsung Hero Award for his outstanding dedication to the program. In 2013, Max is closing out his career in style, leading his team on the field and in the locker room. He is a crucial part of a Missouri team that has been one of the biggest surprises in college football. Missouri is currently 9-1 overall, 5-1 in the SEC, and ranked eighth in the BCS standings.
Senior, Linebacker, Utah State
Jake has played in every game for Utah State the last four years, including starting every game the last two seasons. In his first two seasons, Jake totaled 46 tackles in limited action. In 2012, he earned first team All-WAC honors after leading the team, and ranking second in the conference, with 109 tackles. This year, he is leading the team and ranks seventh nationally with 108 tackles, including 9.5 tackles for loss, and two sacks.
Junior, Wide Receiver, East Carolina
A breakout performer during his first active season, Justin earned Conference USA All-Freshman Team honors in 2011. He ended that campaign owning East Carolina’s freshman record for both receptions and yards, while being voted offensive MVP by the coaching staff. As a sophomore, he was voted first team All-CUSA as a receiver and second team as a punt returner, as well as his team’s MVP. This year, Justin was named to the preseason Biletnikoff Award watch list. He ranks first in the CUSA in receptions and receiving yards, and is on pace to set single-season school records in both categories.
Senior, Guard, Nebraska
In 2011, Spencer was one of only three linemen to start every game and earned second team All-Big Ten honors. As a junior, he started every game and helped lead the team to rank eighth nationally in rushing. He was voted first team All-Big Ten, and named second team All-American by the Walter Camp Foundation. Spencer opened 2013 on the Outland Trophy and Lombardi Award watch lists. He started each of the first six games before suffering a season-ending injury on the opening drive against Purdue. He is a two-time semifinalist for the Burlsworth Trophy.
Senior, Punter, Alabama
Cody has handled the punting duties each of the last four years for Alabama, including both of the last two national championship seasons. His punting average has increased every year at Alabama, which is presently ranked No. 1 again. Due to Alabama’s unprecedented success, Cody has more limited opportunities than punters at other FBS universities. However, his averages rank him first in the SEC and tied for second nationally if his number of punts were high enough for him to qualify.
Freshman, Quarterback, Texas Tech
Baker is the first true freshman to start at quarterback in a season opener at Texas Tech. It is believed he is the first true freshman walk-on to have started a season opener at quarterback for any BCS program. He was named Mid-season Big 12 Freshman MVP. He was also honored as the AT&T All-American National Player of the Week (Sept. 1), as well as Manning Award Quarterback of the Week (Sept. 3). He has thrown for 2,078 yards and 12 touchdowns this season.
Junior, Defensive End, Kansas State
After redshirting in 2010, Mueller played in every game in 2011. In 2012, he played in all 13 games again and finished the season with 14 tackles and two sacks. This year, as a junior, he leads the Big 12 in sacks (10) and tackles for loss (16), and nationally he ranks fifth and seventh respectively in those categories. He is now on Kansas State’s single-season top 10 list for sacks. Ryan was named to the midseason All-Big-12 performer list.
Senior, Linebacker, Virginia Tech
As a sophomore, Jack played in every game, including starts in the ACC Championship Game against Clemson, and the Sugar Bowl against Michigan. After the season, Jack earned the Frank O. Moseley Award given to the Hokies’ defensive player who exhibits the most hustle during offseason workouts. He earned All-ACC honors after leading the team in tackles. In 2013, Jack is one of Virginia Tech’s four permanent captains. He has started every game, including the season-opener against Alabama, when he had eight tackles and one sack. Jack leads his team with 89 tackles this season.
Senior, Running Back, Tulsa
Trey burst onto the scene as a sophomore, leading his team with 1,629 all-purpose yards. The next year, in 2012, he earned All Conference USA second-team honors as a kick returner and honorable mention as a running back. He also was named MVP of the CUSA Championship Game and the Liberty Bowl. In his senior year, he was named to the watch lists for the Doak Walker, Maxwell and Paul Hornung awards. He has amassed 1,026 rushing yards and 372 receiving yards, placing him fifth in the nation in all-purpose yards. He ranks second in school history with more than 5,000 all-purpose yards. Trey is the son of former Oklahoma Sooners quarterback and Oklahoma Rep. J. C. Watts.
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