FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — WKU Football linebacker Ben Holt added to his list of accolades
on Tuesday, as he was announced as one of 69 nominees for the 2018 Burlsworth
Trophy. The award, which is presented annually by the Springdale (Ark.) Rotary Club,
recognizes the most outstanding FBS football player who began his career as a
Holt, who earned a scholarship in the spring of 2017 from head coach Mike Sanford,
was voted a team captain by his teammates for the 2018 season. He currently ranks
fourth in Conference USA in total tackles with 75. Holt is one of only five C-USA
student-athletes to have been nominated and one of only two nominees who play in the
Commonwealth of Kentucky.
Holt’s career-high 19 tackles against FIU was the most by a C-USA player in a single
game this season. He became only the 14th FBS player in 2018 to have 19-plus tackles
in a game and tied a program record for most tackles in a game since the Hilltoppers
joined the FBS. Holt shares that record with former WKU linebacker Andrew Jackson,
who previously recorded 19 tackles in a 2012 game against Florida Atlantic.
This marks the third consecutive year in which a Hilltopper has been nominated for
the award, as Holt joins former WKU center Max Halpin, nominated in 2016, and former
WKU tight end Deon Yelder, nominated in 2017.
The Burlsworth Trophy was established in 2010 to honor Brandon Burlsworth, who
walked on at the University of Arkansas in 1994. He would become a three-year
starter for the Razorbacks and was named an All-American in 1998. Burlsworth was
selected with the 63rd overall pick in the 1999 NFL Draft by the Indianapolis Colts,
but was tragically killed in a car accident just 11 days later. The Burlsworth
Foundation was created in his memory and supports the physical and spiritual needs
of children, particularly those whose opportunities are limited.
“We are now in our ninth year of this award and I’m amazed at the inspiring stories
we hear each year,” said Marty Burlsworth, CEO and founder of the Brandon Burlsworth
Foundation and Brandon’s older brother. “Beginning your college career as a walk-on
is certainly not an easy thing to do. These young men accepted that challenge. When
others told them ‘you can’t’, they said ‘I can.'”
In conjunction with the Springfield (Ark.) Rotary Club, the Burlsworth Foundation
will host an awards ceremony on Dec. 3 in Springdale, Ark. to honor the three
finalists and announce the 2018 winner.
Former Washington State Cougars quarterback Luke Falk won the award in 2017, while
former Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Baker Mayfield won it in 2015 and 2016.