Rams linebacker Skelton a candidate for Burlsworth Trophy

Nov. 15, 2012

FORT COLLINS, Colo. – Colorado State senior linebacker James Skelton has been announced as a candidate for The Burlsworth Trophy, presented by the Springdale (Ark.) Rotary Club. Skelton is among 50 players nominated for the award, a group that includes team captains, all-conference selections and national statistical leaders from every conference in the nation.

The Trophy is given to the most outstanding football player in America who began his career as a walk-on. A walk-on is defined as a player who began his first season of participation with a D1 (FBS) football program without financial aid of any kind from his university’s athletic department.

Skelton, from Chatfield High School in Littleton, Colo., has been a leader for the Rams both on and off the field, and played on both offense and defense in 2012. In addition to 32 tackles, 0.5 tackles-for-loss and one pass breakup, Skelton rushed for a touchdown against Hawaii on Oct. 27 after taking a direct snap in the wildcat formation. He is expected to miss the season’s final two games because of an injury suffered in last week’s win over UNLV.

In his four-year career at Colorado State, Skelton has played in 45 games (23 starts) and made 181 tackles (81 solo), 2.5 sacks, 6 tackles-for-loss, one interception and two forced fumbles.

The 2011 winner of the Burlsworth Trophy was quarterback, Austin Davis from the University of Southern Mississippi. In his four-year career at USM, Davis amassed 10,727 passing yards, 81 touchdown passes and 12,082 yards in total offense. Davis was drafted this year and is now a reserve quarterback for the St. Louis Rams. The inaugural recipient in 2010 was two-time All-ACC center Sean Bedford from Georgia Tech.

"We are extremely proud of this group of nominees for the 2012 Burlsworth Trophy,” said Marty Burlsworth, CEO and founder of the Burlsworth Foundation and brother of Brandon. “All of these young men have worked very hard to get to where they are. The stories behind these players are incredible and they are all winners in my book."

Without one D1 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.

Springdale Rotary Club will host a banquet on Dec. 3 in Springdale, Ark., to honor the finalists and to announce the 2012 winner.