FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The Burlsworth Trophy and the presenting sponsor, the Springdale (Ark.) Rotary Club, are excited to announce BYU wide receiver Mitchell Juergens as one of 55 players nominated this week for the Burlsworth Trophy. The trophy is given to the most outstanding football player in America who began his career as a walk-on.
The 2015 list includes team captains, All-Conference selections and national statistical leaders from across the nation.
Juergens, a junior, has played in every game this season and started five. He is third on the team in receptions with 29 and fourth with 397 yards. Against Boise State, Juergens turned in a career performance with four receptions, 172 yards and two touchdowns. His first touchdown was an 84-yard reception to mark the sixth-longest in BYU history and his second touchdown was a 35-yarder on fourth down with 45 seconds left to beat the Broncos.
The Houston, Texas, product was also recently named to the CoSIDA Academic All-District team.
A walk-on is defined as a player who began his first season of participation with a D1 (FBS) football program without financial aid of any kind from his university's athletic department. The Trophy is named in honor of former University of Arkansas walk-on and All-American offensive lineman, Brandon Burlsworth.
The 2014 winner was wide receiver Justin Hardy from East Carolina University. Hardy broke the NCAA all-time receiving record with 355 catches.
"In this 6th year of the Burlsworth Trophy, I am again impressed by the quality and commitment of the athletes who have been nominated,” said Marty Burlsworth, CEO and founder of the Burlsworth Foundation and older brother of Brandon. “These young men represent what the Burlsworth Trophy stands for: character, hard work, dedication to a sport and to their school and above all else, a desire to excel at the highest level.”
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.
Springdale Rotary Club will host an awards ceremony on Dec. 7th in Springdale, (Ark.) to honor the three finalists and to announce the 2015 winner.