Tice Mursu, a senior at MHS and a member of the 2022 Bulldogs football team, was chosen for a Burlsworth Character Award. The honor is a national award recognizing sportsmanship and character in high school football.
The Burlsworth Award organization says, “It’s simple. Our nation needs to place a higher value on character. The Burlsworth Character Award originated in Arkansas 16 years ago but now is given out nationwide. The award honors the player who may or may not be a top athletic performer, but who represents the ideals and values of Brandon Burlsworth: to give 100 percent on the field and to stand as a moral example to his team. We hope the award encourages the honoree to continue on his path of excellence and inspires others to follow his lead.”
The organization also highlights the story of its namesake Brandon Burlsworth: “When Burlsworth arrived on the campus of the University of Arkansas in 1994 as a walk-on, he had no money, no famous last name, and absolutely no Division 1 scholarship offers. Through his unbelievable work ethic and ceaseless determination, Burlsworth not only earned a scholarship, but became team captain, All-SEC 1997-1998, First Team All-American in 1998, and the first All-American from the University of Arkansas in a decade.”
According to the organization, Burlsworth’s success was not limited to the gridiron. “He was also named to the All-SEC Academic Honor Roll from 1995 to 1998 and was the first football player in the history of his university to earn a master’s degree before playing his last game. Burlsworth was then selected by the Indianapolis Colts as the 63rd pick in the 1999 NFL draft. Unfortunately, he was tragically killed in a head-on automobile collision just 11 days after the draft.”
The University of Arkansas created an endowment in Burlsworth’s name. Eighteen $5,000 academic scholarships and one $10,000 walk-on athletic scholarship are awarded each year to University of Arkansas upper classmen who exemplify the qualities that he represented.
According to the award website, the Brandon Burlsworth Foundation is also engaged in various charitable projects, including providing free eye care to thousands of children in need.
In 2010 the Burlsworth Trophy was created to honor the achievements of the walk-on athlete. This award is presented annually to the most outstanding Division 1 college football player who began his career as a walk-on.