Nov. 26, 2013
• Burlsworth Trophy
MADISON, Wis. -- Five years removed from walking on to the Wisconsin football team as a scout team quarterback, Jared Abbrederis is closing out a career that has seen him become one of the best wide receivers in Badgers history.
That journey has not only earned Abbrederis a place in the Badgers’ record books, but also a place on the list of the nation’s top players that got their start as walk-ons.
Abbrederis was named Tuesday as one of three finalists for the Burlsworth Trophy, an award that honors college football’s most outstanding player that began his career as a walk-on.
Also a semifinalist for the Burlsworth Trophy last season, Abbrederis joins Missouri OL Max Copeland and Tulsa RB Trey Watts as a finalist. This year’s class of 53 nominees was narrowed to a list of 10 semifinalists last week, with Abbrederis, Copeland and Watts drawn from that group.
The winner of the fourth-annual award, named for former Arkansas offensive lineman Brandon Burlsworth, will be announced at a ceremony Dec. 9 in Springdale, Ark. Burlsworth walked on to the team at Arkansas and eventually received a scholarship on his way to All-SEC and All-America honors. He was selected by the Indianapolis Colts in the 1999 NFL Draft but was tragically killed just 11 days later in an automobile accident.
The award was first presented in 2010, with Penn State quarterback Matt McGloin the most recent recipient in 2012.
A consensus first-team All-Big Ten selection last season, Abbrederis enters his final game at Camp Randall Stadium this Saturday ranked No. 2 in UW history in receptions (185), receiving yards (2,975) and touchdown receptions (23). With 916 yards already this season, Abbrederis is the first player in school history to record at least 800 receiving yards in three separate seasons. Also an accomplished returner, he ranks seventh all-time at Wisconsin in all-purpose yards with 4,655.
The Wautoma, Wis., native ranks fifth in the Big Ten in receiving at 83.3 yards per game and has scored a total of nine touchdowns this season.