Morgan Burlsworth Trophy

Arkansas linebacker Grant Morgan speaks with the media Monday after being announced as the winner of the 2021 Burlsworth Trophy. Morgan received the prestigious trophy at an awards ceremony at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.

Arkansas senior linebacker Grant Morgan received the prestigious Burlsworth Trophy on Monday evening at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville.

The trophy is presented annually to the most outstanding college football player who began his career as a walk-on.

“It means a lot to me,” Morgan said in an interview following the presentation. “It means a lot to this state, it means a lot to our program. I hope I’m not the last one to win it.”

Morgan was one of three finalists for this year’s award along with Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett IV and Troy linebacker Carlton Martial.

Last season, Morgan was also a finalist for the award, but came up short to Pittsburgh offensive lineman Jimmy Morrissey. 

Morgan is the first Razorback to receive the Burlsworth Trophy, which is named after the late Brandon Burlsworth, a former walk-on who became a three-year starter and an All-American offensive lineman at Arkansas.

Burlsworth was selected by the Indianapolis Colts in the third round of the 1999 NFL Draft, but was killed in a car accident just 11 days later.

Morgan, who began his career as a walk-on, was named a Walter Camp and American Football Coaches Association All-American in 2020 after posting a team-high 111 total tackles with 7.5 tackles for losses and 2.0 sacks.

Morgan has continued to be one of the defensive leaders on the field in 2021, ranking second on the team with 96 total tackles, seven tackles for losses, 0.5 sacks, three pass breakups and an interception.

“Hard work pays off,” Morgan said. “It just shows right there that anyone can be successful. A little kid from Greenwood, Arkansas, can be able to say you did it, and you did it at a high level.”

Notable past winners of the trophy include former Oklahoma and current Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield and former Clemson and current Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Hunter Renfrow. Morgan became one of three players to be a finalist for the award more than once.

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