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.
White, a 6-5, 200-pound junior from Mount Pleasant, S.C., is 12-for-16 in field goals this season (75.0 pct.) with three of his four misses coming from 50 yards or beyond. He hit a then career-long 48-yarder vs. Alabama and topped that with a 49-yarder at Georgia and had another 49-yarder vs. Florida. A three-year starter, he is 39-of-57 (68.4 percent) in career field goal attempts, including 28-of-31 (90.3 percent) from inside 40 yards. He is 96-for-97 on extra points, including 25-for-25 this season. He had no scholarship offers coming out of Wando High School and did not participate in football during his freshman season at South Carolina in 2016. He was placed on scholarship at halftime of the 2019 Garnet & Black Spring Game.
"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, Ark. to honor the three finalists and to announce the 2019 winner.