THE BURLSWORTH STORY
When Brandon Burlsworth arrived on campus in 1994 as a walk-on, he had no money, no famous last name, and absolutely no Division 1 scholarship offers. Through his unbelievable work ethic and ceaseless determination, Brandon not only earned a scholarship, but became team captain, All-SEC 1997-1998, First Team All-American in 1998, and the first All-American from the University of Arkansas in a decade. His success was not limited to the gridiron. He was also named to the All-SEC Academic Honor Roll 1995-1998 and was the first football player in the entire history of his university to earn a Master’s degree “before” playing his last game. Brandon was selected by the Indianapolis Colts as the 63rd overall pick in the 1999 NFL draft. After minicamp, he was projected by his coaches to start as a rookie.
Unfortunately, Brandon was tragically killed in a head-on automobile collision just 11 days after the draft. Today, the University of Arkansas has created an endowment in Brandon’s name. Eighteen $5,000 academic scholarships and one $10,000 Walk-0n athletic scholarship are awarded each year to enrolled University of Arkansas upper class-men who exemplify the qualities that Brandon represented. The Brandon Burlsworth Foundation is engaged in various charitable endeavors including the provision of free eye care to thousands of underprivileged children. In 2010 the Burlsworth Trophy was created to honor the achievements and successes of the walk-on athlete. This award is presented annually to the most outstanding Division 1 college football player who began his career as a walk-on.