Foster Nominated for Burlsworth Trophy
University of South Carolina safety Jaylan Foster is one of 88 players nominated for the 2021 Burlsworth Trophy, it was announced today.
In the award’s 12th year, the Trophy is named in honor of Brandon Burlsworth, former University of Arkansas walk-on and All-America offensive lineman. Burlsworth’s life is also the subject of a major motion picture, “GREATER,” which was released in 2016. The Burlsworth Trophy is given to the most outstanding football player in America who began his career as a walk-on and has shown outstanding performance on the field. Each nominee must have begun his first season of participation with an FBS (D1) football program without financial aid of any kind from his university’s athletic department.
Foster, a 5-10, 195-pound “Super Senior” from Duncan, S.C., began his career at Gardner-Webb, where he was named the Big South Conference Freshman of the Year. He transferred to South Carolina in 2017, joining the football team as a walk-on. He worked his way up from a member of the scout team to special teams perfomer, to a spot in the starting lineup. He currently is the NCAA leader with five interceptions and ranks fourth in the SEC in tackles. He is one of 12 semifinalists for the Jim Thorpe Award, which recognizes that nation’s top defensive back, and was a 2021 Midseason All-American, as selected by Sporting News.
“What a privilege it is to recognize these young men each year, those that chose to take on the challenge of beginning their college career as a walk-on,” said Marty Burlsworth, President and CEO of the Burlsworth Trophy and older brother of Brandon. “We are excited to celebrate the achievements of these 88 players nominated for the 2021 Burlsworth Trophy. These extraordinary young men have put in the work and have earned this honor.”
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.
The Burlsworth Trophy award ceremony to honor the three finalists and to announce the 2021 winner will take place on December 6 at 7 pm CST at Crystal Bridges Museum in Bentonville, Ark.