Natural State kickers Grupe & Limpert nominated for Burlsworth Trophy

Natural State kickers Grupe & Limpert nominated for Burlsworth Trophy
Arkansas State kicker Blake Grupe kicks field goal in win over ULM. (Source: KAIT)

Press Release from the Brandon Burlsworth Foundation

Today, the Burlsworth Trophy announced a record 83 players nominated from Division 1 (FBS) schools from across the country for the 2019 Burlsworth Trophy. In the award’s tenth 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 in 2016. 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 2018 winner was receiver Hunter Renfrow from Clemson University. After receiving no division one scholarship offers, Renfrow walked-on at Clemson, where he had 186 receptions for 2133 yards and 15 touchdowns, four of which were in national championship games. The 2017 winner was Luke Falk, a three-year starter for Washington State, where he broke the PAC-12 record for career passing yards during his senior season. The 2015 and 2016 winner was Heisman Trophy Winner Baker Mayfield who was the first pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.

The 2019 Burlsworth Trophy nominees are:

Appalachian State Noel Cook SR OL

Arizona State Cristian Zendejas Soph PK

Arkansas Connor Limpert SR K

Arkansas State Blake Grupe Soph K

Auburn Will Hastings SR WR

Ball State Riley Miller SR WR

Bowling Green State David Konowalski SR DE

Brigham Young Bracken El-Bakri JR DL

Buffalo Chibueze Onwuka JR DT

California Ashtyn Davis SR S/KR

Charlotte Alex Highsmith SR DE

Clemson Patrick Phibbs SR LS

Coastal Carolina Chandler Kryst SR CB

Colorado J.T. Bale SR LS

Colorado State Barry Wesley Soph OL

East Carolina Tyler Snead Fresh WR

Eastern Michigan Hassan Beydoun Soph WR

Florida Atlantic Dante Cousart SR WR/PR

Florida State Tommy Martin Soph P

Fresno State Matt Smith JR OL

Georgia Rodrigo Blankenship SR PK

Georgia State Remy Lazarus SR S

Georgia Tech William Lay Soph OL

Hawaii Kaimana Padello SR DL

Indiana Logan Justus SR K

Iowa Brady Ross SR FB

Iowa State Collin Olson SR OL/C

Kansas State Dalton Schoen SR WR

Kent State Matt Bahr SR LB

Kentucky Blake Best SR LS

Louisiana Deuce Wallace SR DB

Louisiana Tech Cee Jay Powell JR WR

Louisville Tyler Haycraft SR OT

Marshall Tyler Brown SR LB

Massachusetts Kyle Horn SR TE

Memphis Joey Magnifico SR TE

Miami Jimmy Murphy SR RB

Michigan Jordan Glasgow SR LB

Michigan State Kenny Willekes SR DE

Minnesota Sam Renner SR DL

Mississippi Mac Brown JR P

Mississippi State Kody Schexnayder SR H/P

Missouri Dawson Downing JR RB

NC State Thayer Rockne Thomas Soph WR

Nebraska Chase Urbach SR LS

Nevada Quinton Conaway SR P

New Mexico Andrew Shelley Soph K

New Mexico State Austin Perkins SR DB

North Texas Michael Lawrence SR WR

Northern Illinois Jack Heflin JR DT

Northwestern Chris Bergin JR LB

Notre Dame Chris Finke SR WR

Ohio State CJ Saunders SR WR

Oklahoma State Matt Ammendola SR K

Old Dominion Demetrius Stitmon JR LB

Oregon State Daniel Rodriguez SR P

Penn State Jan Johnson SR LB

Pittsburgh Jimmy Morrissey JR OC

Rice Chris Barnes SR PK

Rutgers Cole Murphy SR WR/H

San Diego State Jesse Matthews Fresh WR

San Jose State Josh Love SR QB

SMU Gerrit Choate JR DE

South Carolina Parker White JR PK

USC Chase McGrath Soph PK

Stanford Ryan Beecher SR ILB

Syracuse Andre Szmyt Soph K

Temple Zack Mesday SR DE

Texas A & M Braden White JR LB

Toledo Reggie Gilliam SR TE

Troy Carlton Martial Soph LB

Tulane Merek Glover JR K

UCLA Joshua Kelley SR RB

Utah Paul Toala SR OL

Utah State Dominik Eberle SR PK

Virginia Brenton Nelson JR S

Wake Forest Jack Freudenthal SR TE

Washington Myles Bryant SR DB

Washington State Brandon Arconada SR WR

West Virginia Dante Bonamico JR S

Western Kentucky Ta’Corian Darden SR NB

Wisconsin Matt Henningsen Soph DE

Wyoming Josiah Hall SR DE

“This award is about the journey, the incredibly challenging journey that all of these nominees have taken,” said Marty Burlsworth, CEO and founder of the Brandon Burlsworth Foundation and older brother of Brandon. “When you begin your college career as a Walk-On there are plenty of skeptics, those that think you can’t do it. This group of Burlsworth Trophy nominees have proven all the skeptics wrong. They have put in an immense about of work and overcame numerous obstacles to make their dreams come true.”

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 9, 2019 in Springdale, AR to honor the three finalists and to announce the 2019 winner.

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