University of Southern Mississippi senior quarterback Austin Davis was named the second winner of the Burlsworth Trophy, Friday, Dec. 9, in Springdale, Ark., at a ceremony hosted by the Springdale (Ark.) Rotary Club. The award is given to the nation's most outstanding player who began his career as a walk-on. On hand to present the trophy to Davis was Marty Burlsworth, founder and CEO, of The Brandon Burlsworth Foundation.
“It’s a huge honor to be a part of this award. I got a chance to spend a day and a half with the Burlsworth family and got a better idea of who Brandon was as a person and what this award is all about," said Davis. "Brandon was a guy who had a major impact on people’s lives that still lives on today and this award is a continuation of that. I’m happy to represent the University of Southern Mississippi who gave me a chance as a walk-on to be successful in my career.”
The Burlsworth Trophy Presentation ceremony, which was held at the Northwest Arkansas Convention Center. Rick Schaeffer, Arkansas Athletic Director Jeff Long and Chuck Barrett, voice of the Razorbacks, were among some of the speakers at the banquet.
Davis won’t make folks at Southern Miss forget Brett Favre, but the four-year starter has managed to supplant the legendary quarterback in the program’s record books, including yardage (10,727), TD passes (81), completion percentage (61.6), and total offense (12,082).
Davis, 6-2, 221-pounds, has thrown for 3,331 yards and 28 touchdowns this season with a pass efficiency rating of 142.44 in leading the Eagles to a 11-2 record and won the Conference USA championship game last Saturday 49-28 over Houston. He has started every game of his college career except for 2009 when injury kept him out of eight games.
Davis’ accolades include the 2008 New Orleans Bowl MVP and Freshman All-American. Davis, who had only two scholarship offers out of high school, has also been recognized off the field as an all-academic selection for C-USA. He graduated in 2010 with a degree in business administration.
The Trophy is named in honor of Brandon Burlsworth. Without any Division I scholarship offer, Brandon walked on to the Razorback football team in 1994, worked his way to becoming 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 that have limited opportunities.
The other two finalists were wide receivers Patrick Edwards of Houston and Griff Whalen of Stanford.