ARKANSAS, USA — Brandon Burslworth wasn’t just a football player. The former Harrison High School student wanted to be a Razorback, but he didn’t get a single Division 1 scholarship offer. Burlsworth walked on at the University of Arkansas (U of A), made the team, and became an All-American.
Burlsworth graduated with a bachelor’s and master's degree in only four years. He was drafted in the third round by the Indianapolis Colts in the 1999 NFL draft but died in a car crash 11 days later on his way to Harrison. Burlsworth is not just a football player, but an Arkansas legend.
"Greater", is a movie inspired by Burlsworth's life.
“Oh, I think it’s a great story,” said Mike Gross. “ I mean you see a guy that comes in, walks on and works so hard to achieve what he needs to. Plus it has the tear-jerker piece of it which is so sad for everybody in Arkansas when that happened. But it’s such a good inspirational story.”
The casting for the movie is now underway and people who knew Burlsworth auditioned.
Debby Echols has a tie to Brandon like so many others who went to audition for the movie. She went to school at the U of A with him. She auditioned tonight for perhaps one of the most challenging roles in the movie.
“The police officer is the female at the end that has to break the bad news to the family, Marty and the Mom," said Echols.
Blake Whitmer came from Harrison with his dad. The movie needs a young Brandon, and Blake looks the part.
“I feel like it would be appropriate for somebody from his hometown to be a young Brandon Burlsworth,” said Whitmer.
DJ Cooper, is also auditioning. He was Brandon’s teammate.
“I played with Brandon all of his career. I was here from 1995 to 2000,” said Cooper. “I played defensive tackle so I touched him every day of his life so I just wanted to come be a part of it in some kind of way.”
The mere presence of his empty locker inspired the former Razorback walk-on, Mitchell Bailey.
“I actually was lockered right next to (Brandon’s locker) and every day that I’d go in there he just really inspired me to try to earn a scholarship and just to fight another day,” said Bailey
That’s the thing about this movie and the man Brandon Burlsworth was, people wanted to be with him, be like him, he inspired them to be “Greater.”
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