At the Northwest Arkansas Convention Center Monday in Springdale, Washington State Cougars quarterback Luke Falk finally received the Burlsworth Trophy with Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Baker Mayfield looking on instead of watching Mayfield receive the award.
Mayfield in 2015 and 2016 won the award, named for the late Brandon Burlsworth of Harrison, the Arkansas Razorbacks offensive lineman emerging from overweight, redshirted walk-on in 1994, to scholarship All-American athletically and academically in 1998 drafted in 1999 by the Indianapolis Colts just days before dying in an automobile accident.
The now 7-year award annually is voted by the Burlsworth Committee to the best player originally a walk-on also exhibiting Burlsworth’s type of character on the field and off.
Falk, Mayfield, generally considered an overwhelming favorite to receive the Heisman Trophy Saturday in New York, University of Memphis receiver Anthony Miller and University of Wisconsin tight end Troy Fumagalli were the four invited as the finalists Monday for the trophy presentation.
“I think Baker gave it to me,” Falk said, joking. “He just said, 'Hey, let him win it this year. We were joking up there that I'll take this home and he'll take the Heisman home. He just said, 'Hey, let him win it this year. He's down here for his third time.' … But it's great. I'm so blessed to be here and be a part of this event and what it means with Brandon's legacy. It's definitely more than an awards ceremony. It's about Brandon's life and his legacy. It's just an honor to be a part of it.”
Falk may not rival Mayfield for this year’s Heisman but posts an impressive resume as the Pac 12’s all-time leader in touchdown passes, 118.
This season for the 9-3 Cougars going into the Holiday Bowl against Michigan State, Falk has passed for a Pac 12 leading 3,224 yards and a Pac 12 leading 29 touchdowns vs. 10 interceptions.
Eric Mele, the Cougars special teams coach instrumental in convincing Falk to walk on, attended Monday’s luncheon as Washington State’s representative.
“Thanks for taking a chance on a kid from Logan, Utah,” Falk said from the podium to Mele. “It's been fun to be able to do what we've done.”