Duff Tittle | Posted: 8 Nov 2022 | Updated: 22 Nov 2022

Wilgar named a semifinalist for the Burlsworth Trophy

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Payton Wilgar Burlsworth Trophy semi finalist

FAYETTEVILLE, Arkansas — BYU linebacker Payton Wilgar has been named a semi-finalist for the 2022 Burlsworth Trophy, given annually to the most outstanding football player in America who began his career as a walk-on. 

Wilgar, a 6-3, 235-pound junior, started seven games for the Cougars in 2022 before being sidelined with a lower leg injury for the last three games. He currently has 30 tackles and a pass breakup this season. 

Before coming to BYU as a preferred walk-on in 2018, Wilgar prepped at Dixie High School in St. George, Utah. Following a redshirt season, Wilgar Started 12 of 13 games at linebacker and was named to the Pro Football Focus All-Freshman Team in 2019. He had 54 tackles and led BYU linebackers (tied for No. 2 nationally) with three interceptions.

As a Covid sophomore in 2020, Wilgar started all 12 games for the No. 11 ranked Cougars, collecting 57 tackles on his way to being named Second Team All-Independent. The following year he started 10 games for No. 19 ranked BYU before suffering a season-ending injury. In ten games during the 2021 season he accumulated 57 tackles and was named Pro Football Network Independent Linebacker of the Year. He was also a candidate for the Bronco Nagurski Trophy and the Butkus Award.

The 2020 Burlsworth Trophy, now celebrating its 13th year, is named in honor of Brandon Burlsworth, former University of Arkansas walk-on and All-American offensive lineman. The Trophy is presented annually to the most outstanding football player in America who began his career as a walk-on and has shown outstanding performance on the field. 

Burlsworth walked on at the University of Arkansas in 1994, became a three-year starter and eventually was named an All-American in 1998. He was selected as the 63rd overall pick 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 who have limited opportunities.

The Burlsworth Trophy Award Ceremony will take place on Dec. 5 at Crystal Bridges Museum in Bentonville, Arkansas. The three finalists, who will be announced by the selection committee on Nov. 15, will be honored at the ceremony and the 2022 Burlsworth Trophy Award winner will be announced.

Semifinalists for the 2022 Burlsworth Trophy include:

School Name Position Year
Buffalo Shaun Dolac LB Jr.
BYU Payton Wilgar LB Jr.
Charlotte Chris Reynolds QB Sr.
Florida State Treshaun Ward RB Soph.
Georgia Stetson Bennett QB Sr.
LSU Josh Williams RB Jr.
Oregon Ryan Walk OL Sr.
Purdue Aidan O'Connell QB Sr.
Troy Carlton Martial LB Sr.
Wisconsin John Torchio S Sr.



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