Wisconsin wide receiver Jared Abbrederis was honored today by the Springdale Rotary Club as the 2013 winner of the Burlsworth Trophy, presented to the nation’s most outstanding college football player who began his career as a walk-on.
The senior leads his team in both receptions (73) and receiving yards (1,051) while helping the Badgers to a 9-3 record and a berth in the Capital One Bowl on New Year’s Day. He was honored today at a banquet in Springdale along with the other two finalists, Tulsa running back Trey Watts and Missouri guard Max Copeland.
“It’s an honor and a blessing,” said Jared. “All three finalists were deserving. I don’t know how you decide between any one of the three.”
Jared was selected from an initial list of 53 nominees, which had been narrowed down to 10 semifinalists and three finalists in late November. He joins Penn State quarterback Matt McGloin (2012), Southern Mississippi quarterback Austin Davis (2011) and Georgia Tech center Sean Bedford (2010) as recipients of the award. Jared is a three-time nominee for the Burlsworth Trophy.
The Burlsworth Trophy is given to the most outstanding collegiate football player 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 Division I (FBS) football program without financial aid of any kind from his university’s athletic department.
Jared is a consensus first team All-Big Ten honoree for the second consecutive year. He ranks third in the Big Ten in receptions and fourth in receiving yards. He also ranks second on his team with nine touchdowns this season, including seven receiving touchdowns and two rushing scores. He also saved his best for last, catching a season-high 12 passes in the final regular-season game against Penn State.
For his career, Abbrederis ranks second all-time in career receptions (197), receiving yards (3,110) and touchdown receptions (23). He also holds school records for career kickoff return average (25.8) and is fifth in punt return average (10.6).
As a junior, he led the Badgers and ranked third in the Big Ten with 837 receiving yards and became the second player in school history with three consecutive 100-yard receiving games. As a sophomore, Jared was named honorable mention All-American punt returner, ranking third in the nation. He was also a consensus honorable mention All-Big Ten wide receiver, leading his team with 933 yards.
Jared walked on to the Badgers after a high school career at Wautoma (Wis.) High School, where he was the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association first-team all-state quarterback his senior season.
The Burlsworth Trophy is named in honor of Brandon Burlsworth, who walked on to the Arkansas Razorbacks 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 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.