FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Arkansas redshirt senior LB Grant Morgan has been announced as one of three Burlsworth Trophy finalists, which is awarded to the most outstanding player who began their career as a walk-on, the organization announced Tuesday. The award is named after former Arkansas walk-on and All-American OL Brandon Burlsworth.
Morgan was named to the Coaches’ All-SEC first team and is second in the nation with 111 total tackles and third averaging 12.3 tackles per game, the most in the conference. The Greenwood, Ark. native also added five passes broken up, two quarterback hurries, one interception return for a touchdown, 2.0 sacks and a team-leading 7.5 tackles for loss to his season stat line. The Butkus Award, which honors the nation’s best linebacker, named Morgan a semifinalist.
He has recorded 15 or more tackles in four games, the most in a single-season at Arkansas since Ken Hamlin in 2002 and the most by an SEC player since Missouri’s Kentrell Brothers in 2015. The former walk-on became the first Razorback since Tony Bua in 2003 to record consecutive 15+ tackle games with his second 19-tackle performance of the year against LSU. He is the only FBS player this season to record six games of at least 12 tackles.
His first 19-tackle game came in the 33-21 win over Ole Miss while adding 3.0 tackles for loss, 1.0 sack, two passes broken up and an interception return for a touchdown, becoming the second FBS player since 2000 to total at least 15 tackles with 3.0 tackles for loss and an interception return for a touchdown. For his performance, he was named SEC co-Defensive Player of the Week, Chuck Bednarik Award Player of the Week, Bronko Nagurski Defensive Player of the Week and Athlon Sports Defensive Player of the Week.
Both of Morgan’s 19-tackle performances are tied for the third-most in a single-game by an FBS player this season. LSU’s Kevin Minter (2012) was the last SEC player to have two 19-tackle performances in the same year.
Burlsworth Trophy Finalists
Dax Milne, Jr., WR, BYU
Grant Morgan, Sr., LB, Arkansas
Jimmy Morrissey, Sr., C, Pitt
Each candidate must have begun his first season of participation with an FBS football program without financial aid of any kind from his university’s athletic department.
Without one Division I 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. Burlsworth's life is also the subject of a major motion picture, "GREATER", which was released in 2016.
The winner of the 2020 Burlsworth Trophy will be announced on January 4 at a virtual ceremony.