SPRINGDALE — Among finalists Grant Morgan, the University of Arkansas Razorbacks senior linebacker from Greenwood, Brigham University junior receiver Dax Milne and University of Pittsburgh Panthers senior center Jimmy Morrissey, Morrissey was voted Monday the 11th winner of the Burlsworth Trophy.
Because of COVID-19 concerns, the trophy was awarded virtually in lieu of the customary banquet.
Named in honor of the late Brandon Burlsworth, the Razorbacks offensive lineman from Harrison beginning his University of Arkansas career as an overweight 1994 walk-on and concluding in 1998 as a consensus football and academic All-American NFL drafted by the Indianapolis Colts shortly before dying in a tragic automobile accident, the Burlsworth Award is given to the nation’s best player who began his career as a walk-on.
Morrissey, Pitt’s 4-year starting center after redshirting as a 2016 freshman walk-on and was All-ACC in 2018 and in 2019 did not yield a sack.
Academically Morrissey is a graduate student in Pittsburgh’s School of Business, and is a semifinalist for the William V./Campbell Trophy awarded the nation’s top football-scholar athlete.
Pre-med major Morgan, a graduate student since 2019, brought imposing credentials off an All-American 2020 season following lettering 2017-2019 as a reserve after redshirting as a 2016 freshman walk-on.
Starting Arkansas’ nine of 10 games before missing the season finale with a knee injury from which he had recovered and was set to play in the COVID-19 cancelled Texas Bowl game against TCU, Morgan is the only of three finalists to be voted an All-American (second-team by the American Football Coaches Association) in 2020 and was consensus first-team All-SEC. Morgan led the SEC in tackles (111) which ranked second nationally, and includes 19 tackles in Arkansas’ 33-21 victory over Ole Miss in Oxford, Miss.
Morgan was twice honored as the Bronko Nagurski and Chuck Bednarik Awards Players of the Week.
Morgan has said he intends to use the NCAA’s 2020 option because how COVID-19 disrupted everyone’s 2020 fall sports seasons, to return in 2021 as a senior for Coach Sam Pittman’s Razorbacks.
Milne, a sophomore reserve in 2019, 21 catches for 285 yards and 2 touchdowns, emerged in 2020 to record 100 receiving yards or better in six games while for the season catching 70 passes for 1,118 yards and 8 touchdowns.