Powell a Candidate for Burlsworth Trophy

William Powell

Nov. 23, 2010

MANHATTAN, Kan. – Kansas State running back/kick returner William Powell is one of 45 players nationally and seven from the Big 12 Conference to be named a candidate for the inaugural Burlsworth Trophy, given to the nation’s top college football player who began his career as a walk-on.

Powell, who is one of just two running backs up for the award, currently leads the nation with a kickoff return average of 34.6 yards, thanks in part to four returns covering more than 50 yards, including a 100-yarder at Baylor and a 62-yarder against Texas. His average is 0.2 yards per return shy of the Big 12 record of 34.8 by Oklahoma State’s Chris Massey in 2001.

A native of Duncanville, Texas, Powell also has averaged 10.9 yards per carry at running back and has scored four touchdowns on just 23 carries.

Powell, who transferred to K-State in 2009 from Navarro Junior College, began his Wildcat career as walk-on before earning a scholarship just days prior to this season’s game with Iowa State at Arrowhead Stadium. He would go on to earn Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Week honors following the win over the Cyclones after averaging 30 yards on four kick returns.

In honor of Brandon Burlsworth, former University of Arkansas walk-on and All-American offensive lineman, the award will be given to the collegiate player who began their career as a walk-on and has shown outstanding performance on the field. Nominees must have begun their first season of participation with a Division 1 (FBS) football program without financial aid of any kind from their athletic department.

Without one Division 1 scholarship offer, Brandon Burlsworth walked on to the Razorback 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.

Finalists will be named on Dec. 1 with the winner announced on Dec. 15. A banquet will be held in honor of the winner on Feb. 7, 2011 in Springdale, Ark. hosted by the Springdale Rotary Club. 

Kansas State (6-5) closes out the 2010 regular season with a 3 p.m. non-conference matchup at North Texas (3-8). The game will be broadcast live on www.ESPN3.com.