Tulane senior safety Devon Walker
Nov. 14, 2012
New Orleans - Tulane senior safety Devon Walker is one of 50 former football walk-on student-athletes named the third annual 2012 Burlsworth Trophy list, which is presented by the Springdale (Ark.) Rotary Club.
The Trophy is given to the most outstanding football player in America who began his career as a walk-on. A walk-on is defined as a player who began his first season of participation with a D1 (FBS) football program without financial aid of any kind from his university's athletic department.
Walker, a New Orleans native who prepped at nearby Destrehan High School, entered Tulane University in the fall of 2009 as a walk-on student-athlete on the Green Wave football team. That season, he played in nine games a true freshman earned his first collegiate start against SMU. He then saw action in all 12 games the following season as a sophomore.
Prior to the 2011 campaign, he was awarded a scholarship from former head football coach Bob Toledo and played in nine games.
A cell and molecular biology major, Walker started the 2012 season opener at strong safety against Rutgers and recorded a team-best nine tackles. The following week in the Conference USA opener at Tulsa, Walker once again earned the starting assignment, but suffered a cervical spine fracture after he collided with a teammate while attempting to make a tackle on the final play of the first half.
The following day, Walker underwent a three-hour surgery where neurosurgeons stabilized his spine. Ten days later, Walker was moved to a comprehensive in-patient rehabilitation center to continue his recovery.
The 2011 Burlsworth Trophy winner was quarterback Austin Davis from Southern Miss. The inaugural recipient in 2010 was center Sean Bedford from Georgia Tech.
"We are extremely proud of this group of nominees for the 2012 Burlsworth Trophy," said Marty Burlsworth, CEO and founder of the Burlsworth Foundation and brother of Brandon. "All of these young men have worked very hard to get to where they are. The stories behind these players are incredible and they are all winners in my book."
Without one D1 scholarship offer, Brandon Burlsworth walked on to the Razorback football team in 1994, worked his way to being 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.
Springdale Rotary Club will host a banquet on Dec. 3 in Springdale, Ark. to honor the finalists and to announce the 2012 winner.
Click here for more information about the Burlsworth Trophy.
The 2012 Burlsworth Trophy nominees are:
Player Class Position School Kevin Ozier SR Wide Receiver Arizona State University Cole Lorigan SR Safety Arkansas State University Jamill Smith JR Wide Receiver Ball State University Ezekiel Ansah SR Defensive Line Brigham Young University Chandler Catanzaro JR Place Kicker Clemson University James Skelton SR Linebacker Colorado State University Garrett Rider JR Safety Duke University Tristan Okpalaugo SR Outside Linebacker Fresno State University B.J. Finney SO Offensive Line Kansas State University Norman Wolfe SR Cornerback Kent State University Jeremiah Taylor JR Defensive End Marshall University Anthony Amos SR Wide Receiver Middle Tennessee State University Chris Salvi SR Safety Notre Dame Keith Moore JR Linebacker Ohio University Bryson Rose SR Place Kicker Ole Miss Andrew Seumalo SR Defensive Tackle Oregon State University Matt McGloin SR Quarterback Pennsylvania State University Jamael Thomas SR Defensive Tackle Rice University Michael Burton SO Fullback Rutgers University David Quessenberry SR Offensive Tackle San Jose State University Joel Hasley SO Linebacker Texas Christian University Andrew Abbott SR Strong Safety UCLA Carson Tinker SR Deep Snapper University of Alabama Trey Clark SR Offensive Line University of South Alabama Jared Tevis SO Safety University of Arizona Dylan Breeding SR Punter University of Arkansas Kyle Negrete SR Punter University of Southern California Ryan Iverson JR Deep Snapper University of Colorado Johnny McEntee SR Quarterback University of Connecticut Shane Ros JR Wide Receiver University of Houston Bobby Cowan SR Punter University of Idaho Mike Meyer JR Place Kicker University of Iowa Craig McIntosh SR Place Kicker University of Kentucky Alex Kupper SR Offensive Tackle University of Louisville Mitchell Bailey SR Running Back University of Louisiana at Monroe Mitch Huelsing SR Defensive Back University of Memphis Jordan Kovacs JR Safety University of Michigan Max Copeland JR Offensive Line University of Missouri Spencer Long JR Offensive Guard University of Nebraska Matt Raymer SR Strong Safety University of New Mexico Pete Mangum SR Defensive Back University of North Carolina Dominique Whaley SR Running Back University of Oklahoma Alex King SR Punter University of Texas A.J. Lindeman SR Offensive Line University of Toledo Jared St. John SR Defensive End University of Tulsa Jared Abbrederis JR Wide Receiver University of Wisconsin Devon Walker SR Safety Tulane University McKade Brady SR Free Safety Utah State Spencer Bishop JR Tight End Wake Forest University Eric Monette SR Wide Receiver Western Michigan University