Grant Morgan announced as Burlsworth Trophy nominee

Arkansas past Kent State

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Arkansas redshirt senior LB Grant Morgan has been announced as a Burlsworth Trophy nominee, which is awarded to the most outstanding player who began their career as a walk-on, the organization announced Monday. The award is named after former Arkansas walk-on and All-American OL Brandon Burlsworth.

Morgan leads the nation with 111 total tackles and averages 12.3 tackles per game, the most in the SEC and most among FBS players who have played eight or more games. The Greenwood, Ark. native has 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. Last week 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.

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 second-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.

Each nominee 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 Burlsworth Trophy will host an awards ceremony virtually on January 4, 2021 to honor the three finalists and to announce the 2020 winner.

The Hogs host Alabama on Saturday, Dec. 12 in the regular season finale. The game will kick off at 11 a.m. and air on ESPN.

Cross-posted from Arkansas Razorbacks Communications