LEXINGTON, Ky (WYMT)- University of Kentucky senior wide receiver/punt returner David Bouvier has been named one of the 69 candidates for the 2018 Burlsworth Trophy, it was announced in conjunction with the Springdale (ARIZ) Rotary Club on Wednesday.
In the award's ninth year, the Trophy is named in honor of Brandon Burlsworth, former University of Arkansas walk-on and All-American offensive lineman. Burlsworth's life is also the subject of a major motion picture, "GREATER", which was released in 2016. The Burlsworth Trophy is given to the most outstanding football player who began his career as a walk-on and has shown outstanding performance on the field. Each nominee must have begun his first season of participation with FBS (D1) football program without financial aid of any kind from his university's athletic department.
Bouvier, a native of Lexington, Ky., came to UK as a walk-on wide receiver in 2014. He worked his way onto the field and caught his first career pass in the 2016 TaxSlayer Bowl as a sophomore. His work ethic and the respect he garnered from teammates and coaches earned him a scholarship this fall, his final season with the program.
The 5-foot-9, 168-pounder has played in all eight games this season, catching a touchdown pass in each of his first two games, including the Cats' streak-busting win at Florida. He also caught two critical passes on the final drive of the Cats' last-second 15-14 win at Missouri and currently ranks ninth in the Southeastern Conference in yards per punt return (5.8). He has caught eight passes for 155 yards and two scores this season.
Bouvier also excels in the classroom as he is a three-time Southeastern Conference Honor Roll member and member of the Dean's List. He graduated in May 2018 with two degrees – marketing and management – and a minor in communications. He is currently working toward a degree in kinesiology as well and is very active in community service projects.
The 2017 winner was quarterback Luke Falk from Washington State. Former Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield won both the 2015 and 2016 awards.
"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 older brother of Brandon. "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!'"
Without one D1 scholarship offer, Brandon Burlsworth walked on at the University of Arkansas in 1994. He became 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 who have limited opportunities.
The Brandon Burlsworth Foundation, in conjunction with Springdale Rotary Club, will host an awards ceremony on December 3, 2018 in Springdale, Arizona to honor the three finalists and to announce the 2018 winner.