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Labhart selected as Burlsworth Award nominee

November 14, 2013
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Courtesy: Texas A&M Athletics
(photo: Texas A&M Athletics)
SPRINGDALE, Ark. --- Texas A&M wide receiver Travis Labhart’s long and winding road into the Aggies’ starting lineup has put him on the 53-player list for the Burlsworth Trophy, which is given annually to college football’s most outstanding player who began his career as a walk-on.

“He’s one of my favorite people on the team, really just a solid, stand-up guy,” said 2012 Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel. “I’ve been lobbying for him since I became a starter to try and get him on the field because I thought he was a special talent, and so far he’s proven that this year. He goes out there every week and makes the most of every opportunity he gets. There’s really no other way to put it than just going out and balling every week.”

A prep standout in multiple sports at tiny Whitesboro High School near Dallas, Labhart first tried to continue his athletic career on the hardwood with the Texas A&M basketball team, but he was cut. Looking to stay involved he joined the male practice team for the 2011 Aggie women’s basketball team, which went on to win the NCAA Championship. His next stop was as a walk-on for the Aggie football team where he joined the likes of Manziel and Mike Evans on the scout team.

After two seasons of sporadic action but no catches for the Aggies, Labhart has worked his way into the starting lineup as a senior. He has emerged as one of Manziel’s favorite targets and currently ranks fourth on the team with 33 catches for 442 yards and five touchdowns. Since moving into the main rotation five games ago, Labhart has reeled in 30 catches for 390 yards and four scores. He had his career high in catches with eight against Ole Miss and his first-ever 100-yard receiving game with 102 vs. Mississippi State last week. He’s had a pair of receiving touchdowns in each of the past two games. In addition, he’s one of the Aggies’ main punt returners with 57 yards on five returns.

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.

“The 2013 class of Burlsworth Trophy nominees are an outstanding group of young men,” said Marty Burlsworth, CEO and founder of the Burlsworth Foundation and brother of Brandon. “They represent their schools well and embody everything that the Burlsworth Trophy stands for: hard word, dedication and a commitment to excellence.”

2013 Burlsworth Trophy nominees

Player, Class, Position, School

Cody Mandell, Senior, Punter, Alabama

Jared Tevis, Junior, Safety, Arizona

Gannon Conway, Senior, Defensive tackle, Arizona State

Alan D’Appollonio, Junior, Snapper, Arkansas

Charleston Girley, Sophomore, Defensive back, Arkansas State

Trent Fisher, Junior, Safety, Auburn

Jamill Smith, Senior, Wide receiver, Ball State

Clay Fuller, Junior, Wide receiver, Baylor

Ryan Burbrink, Sophomore, Wide receiver, Bowling Green

JD Falslev, Senior, Wide receiver, BYU

Brandon Alexander, Junior, Safety, Central Florida

Justin Cherocci, Junior, Linebacker, Central Michigan

Chandler Catanzaro, Senior, Kicker, Clemson

Ryan Iverson, Senior, Snapper, Colorado

Jared Roberts, Junior, Kicker, Colorado State

Cole Wagner, Senior, Punter, Connecticut

Justin Hardy, Junior, Wide receiver, East Carolina

Jonathan Norton, Senior, Defensive back, Fresno State

Jonathan Wallace, Senior, Running back, Florida Atlantic

Robert Godhigh, Senior, Running back, Georgia Tech

Luke Stice, Sophomore, Fullback, Houston

Mike Meyer, Senior, Kicker, Iowa

Ryan Mueller, Junior, Defensive end, Kansas State

Casey Pierce, Junior, Tight end, Kent State

Kelly Mason, Sophomore, Snapper, Kentucky

Seth Fruge, Senior, Linebacker, LSU

Chris Jasperse, Junior, Center, Marshall

Brandon Hayes, Senior, Running back, Memphis

Jordan Holder, Senior, Wide receiver, Mississippi

Max Copeland, Senior, Guard, Missouri

Spencer Long, Senior, Guard, Nebraska

Davis Cazares, Senior, Safety, New Mexico State

Zach Gentry, Senior, Linebacker, North Carolina State

Craig Cataline, Junior, Linebacker, Ohio State

Aaron Ripkowski, Junior, Fullback, Oklahoma

Michael Kutzler, Senior, Linebacker, Rice

Chad Young, Senior, Fullback, San Diego State,

Chandler Jones, Senior, Wide receiver, San Jose State

Sidney Rhodes, Junior, Cornerback, South Carolina

Marvin Kloss, Junior, Kicker, South Florida

David Parry, Senior, Defensive tackle, Stanford

Jon Koontz, Senior, Defensive end, TCU

Cody Booth, Senior, Tackle, Temple

Travis Labhart, Senior, Wide receiver, Texas A&M

Steven Kurfehs, Senior, Linebacker, Texas-San Antonio

Charlie Will Tuttle, Junior, Center, Texas State

Baker Mayfield, Freshman, Quarterback, Texas Tech

Trey Watts, Senior, Running back, Tulsa

Jake Doughty, Senior, Linebacker, Utah State

Jack Tyler, Senior, Linebacker, Virginia Tech

Spencer Bishop, Senior, Tight end, Wake Forest

Elliott Bosch, Senior, Center, Washington State

Jared Abbrederis, Senior, Wide receiver, Wisconsin

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