For the purposes of the award, a walk-on is defined as a player who began his first season of participation with an FBS program without financial aid of any kind from his university's athletics department.
The Burlsworth Trophy is named in honor of former University of Arkansas walk-on offensive lineman Brandon Burlsworth, who became a three-year Razorback starter and was eventually named an All-American in 1998. Burlsworth was selected 63rd overall 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 who have limited opportunities.
Mayfield has been as effective in 2016 – if not more – as he was in 2015 when he won the Burlsworth Trophy and finished fourth in Heisman Trophy voting. The Austin, Texas, native is 193-for-271 (career-high 71.2 percent) this season with 31 touchdowns and six interceptions (5.2 ratio). He ranks first nationally in yards per pass attempt (10.8; only three other players are above 10.0), second in passing efficiency rating (194.8; NCAA single-season record is 191.8), third in passing touchdowns (31) and completion percentage, and fifth in yards per completion (15.1).
Mayfield has been especially productive in Big 12 play, leading the league in passing touchdowns (24; Texas Tech's Patrick Mahomes ranks second with 17), completion percentage (.743; Oklahoma State's Mason Rudolph is next at .665) and pass efficiency rating (208.2; Rudolph ranks second at 165.3). He has thrown for 353.2 yards per league contest and has also run for 115 yards and three scores during the stretch.
The Sooner signal caller has thrown at least four touchdown passes in each of the four contests (the longest such active streak in the country), racking up 19 touchdowns to just two interceptions in that span.
Three games ago against Texas Tech, the school at which he played as a freshman, Mayfield set OU single-game records for total offense with 563 yards (545 pass, 19 rush) and touchdown passes with seven in the Sooners’ 66-59 victory. His passing yards were the second most ever by a Sooner, just nine yards shy of Landry Jones’ school record.
The only other 2016 Burlsworth Trophy nominee from the Big 12 Conference is wide receiver and punt return specialist Trever Ryen of Iowa State.
Fans will be allowed to vote for their favorite player via the “GREATER” Fan Vote beginning Nov. 8 at 2 p.m. CT. Fans are limited to one vote per day, and the voting for the semi-finalist round will conclude Nov. 13 at midnight CT. Voting can be accessed at www.burlsworthtrophy.com and will continue until the selection committee announces the top three Burlsworth Trophy finalists on Nov. 15. Finalists will be honored and the winner will be announced Dec. 5 at a banquet in Springdale, Ark.
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