LUBBOCK, Texas – Texas Tech senior Ja’Deion High is one of 69 nominees for the 2018 Burlsworth Trophy, the Springdale (AR) Rotary Club announced Tuesday. The award is presented to the most outstanding football player who began his career as a walk-on.
High, who was awarded a scholarship during fall camp of 2016, plays a major role for the nation’s third-leading passing attack. In his sixth year of eligibility, he ranks second on the team with 46 catches and 608 yards, and his mark of 76.0 yards per game ranks 11th in the Big 12 and 52nd nationally.
The Hereford, Texas, native arrived at Texas Tech in 2013. After redshirting his first year on campus, he appeared in four games in 2014 before working his way up the depth chart and starting five games in 2015. He was sidelined with an injury for the majority of the 2016 campaign, but returned to play in all 13 games as a key reserve behind four future NFL receivers last season.
The Burlsworth Trophy is named in honor of Brandon Burlsworth who 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 with 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 who have limited opportunities.
“We are now in our ninth year of this award and I’m amazed at the inspiring stories we hear each year.” said Marty Burlsworth, CEO and founder of the Brandon Burlsworth Foundation and older brother of Brandon. “Beginning your college career as a walk-on is certainly not an easy thing to do. These young men accepted that challenge, when others told them ‘you can’t’, they said ‘I can!’”
The Brandon Burlsworth Foundation, in conjunction with the Springdale Rotary Club, will host an awards ceremony on Dec. 3 in Springdale, Ark. to honor the three finalists and announce this year's winner.
Former Washington State quarterback Luke Falk won the award last year. In 2015 and 2016, the trophy went to former Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield.