On Tuesday (Nov. 20) the Burlsworth Trophy selection committee announced the top 10 semi-finalists for the 2012 award. The Burlsworth Trophy is awarded to the most outstanding football player in America that began his career as a walk-on.
Fans will be allowed to vote for their favorite player via the AT&T Fan Vote beginning Nov. 20 at 2:30 p.m. Voting can be accessed at this link to the Burlsworth Trophy website and will begin with the top 10 semi-finalists and continue as the selection committee announces the top three Burlsworth Trophy finalists on Nov. 27.
Fans are limited to one vote per day, and the voting will conclude on Nov. 26 at 12:00 a.m.
Finalists will be honored and the winner of the 2012 Burlsworth Trophy announced Dec. 3 at a banquet in Springdale, Ark., sponsored by the Springdale Rotary Club.
The trophy is named in honor of Brandon Burlsworth. Without one D1 scholarship offer, Burlsworth walked on to the Razorback team 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 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 that have limited opportunities.
The 2012 semi-finalists include:
Ezekiel Ansah, SR, Defensive Line, Brigham Young University
A native of Ghana, “Ziggy,” as he is called by teammates, never played football before putting on pads (incorrectly) at BYU. He came to BYU to run track, but was deemed simply too big, even after running a sub-22 second 200 meters. He is now a three-year letterman for the 3rd ranked defense in the country. Ziggy is projected as a 1st day pick in the 2013 NFL Draft.
B.J. Finney, Soph., Center, Kansas State University
In 2011, Finney was named 1st Team Freshman All-American and 1st Team Freshman All-Big 12 by Rivals.com. In 2012, as only a sophomore, he has started every game for the 10-1 and 6th ranked (BCS) Wildcats. He has anchored the line that ranks 10th in the nation in scoring offense and leads the Big 12 with 36 rushing TDs.
Andrew Seumalo, SR, Defensive Tackle, Oregon State University
Seumalo is a team Co-Captain this year and has 28 tackles, including 4.5 tackles for loss, and three sacks. He has started in 22 games during his career, including the last 21 straight for the 15th ranked (BCS) team in the nation.
Matt McGloin, SR, Quarterback, Penn State University
In 2012, McGloin has passed for 23 TDs, while rushing for five more. He ranks 2nd in passing yardage and is tied for most TD passes in the Big Ten. McGloin holds the PSU record for most TD passes during his career at 45 and season passing yardage with 3,071 with one game still remaining. He is the only walk-on to ever start at quarterback for Joe Paterno in his 44-year head coaching career.
David Quessenberry, SR, Tackle, San Jose State University
Quessenberry has 35 career starts on the offensive line and had a streak of 27 consecutive starts at one point. As a junior, he was named a 2nd Team All-WAC selection and was named the Team’s Most Valuable Lineman. Prior to the 2012 campaign, he was voted Team Captain, named to the Rotary Lombardi Award watch list, and picked as a 1st Team pre-season All-WAC selection by Phil Steele Magazine.
Andrew Abbott, SR, Strong Safety, UCLA
With no Division 1 scholarship offers out of high school, Abbott walked on to the team the day before they started drills. He has now started in 24 games during his career. In 2012, he was chosen as one of the team’s Co-Captains, and has amassed four interceptions.
Alex Kupper, SR, Tackle, University of Louisville
Kupper is one of the most versatile and consistent offensive linemen on the team. He has played all three positions on the line this year for the 20th ranked (BCS) Cardinals and is touted by his coaches as the team’s top offensive lineman. He anchors the line at Louisville, which is ranked 42nd in the country in total offense.
Jordan Kovacs, SR, Safety, University of Michigan
Kovacs is a four-year starter at safety for the Wolverines. He was named 2nd Team Freshman All-American and Sporting News Freshman All-Big Ten. As a sophomore, he ranked 2nd in the Big Ten with 116 tackles. As a junior, he was named to the pre-season Lott IMPACT Trophy watch list and finished the season as the team’s 2nd leading tackler with 75 stops. In 2012, he has started every game, registered his 300th career tackle, and is considered one of the top safeties in the nation.
Spencer Long, JR, Guard, University of Nebraska
As a sophomore, he was one of only three offensive linemen to start every game in 2011. He also helped Nebraska rank 15th nationally in rushing and earned 2nd Team All-Big Ten honors. As a junior, he has started every game and has helped lead the team to rank 8th nationally in rushing for 2012. He is among team leaders in pancake blocks.
Jared Abbrederis, JR, Wide Receiver, University of Wisconsin
As a sophomore, Abbrederis was named honorable mention All-American punt returner by SI.com while ranking 3rd in the nation. He was also a consensus honorable mention All-Big Ten wide receiver, leading his team with 933 receiving yards. In 2012, he is averaging 72.9 receiving yards/game, which ranks him 2nd in the nation, and is ranked 4th in the country with 729 total receiving yards.