Former Georgia Tech Walk-On Makes List of Burlsworth Trophy Finalists


Kevin Liles-USA TODAY Sports

Being a walk-on at a major university can be tough, but for players like Georgia Tech senior A-back Robert Godhigh, it can be rewarding as well. Godhigh’s will to succeed has brought him to prominence in the Yellow Jackets’ offense, and now it’s gotten him some national recognition, as on Tuesday he was named to the list of candidates for the Burlsworth Trophy, awarded nationally to the nation’s top former walk-on.

Godhigh began his journey at Georgia Tech as a walk-on in 2009, arriving out of nearby Acworth, Ga. He spent the better part of his first two seasons on the scout team, until he was called into duty as a reserve back and a blocking specialist. In his last two seasons he has started 23 consecutive games, and has become one of Paul Johnson‘s favorite go-to guys.

Here are some of Godhigh’s stats as compiled by the Georgia Tech athletic department

  • Godhigh leads the ACC in total offense yards per play and yards per rushing attempt.
  • Of Godhigh’s 708 yards from scrimmage this season, 45.2 percent have come after contact.
  • Fifty-five percent of his offensive touches have resulted in first downs or touchdowns).
  • He has nine plays from scrimmage of 30-plus yards. Only eight FBS players have more.
  • Over his last two games, Godhigh has rushed for 200 yards and three touchdowns on just 11 carries.
  • He enters Thursday night’s game at Clemson needing just 80 yards to become the 42nd player in Georgia Tech history to rush for 1,000 career yards.

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. The 2013 list includes standout players and national statistical leaders from every major conference in the nation.

Former Georgia Tech center Sean Bedford won the Burlsworth Trophy in 2010, the first time a Yellow Jacket had taken home the honor.

The 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.