LOGAN, Utah – Utah State linebacker Zach Vigil is one of 10 semifinalists for The Burlsworth Trophy it was announced Tuesday by the Springdale (Ark.) Rotary Club. Fifty-five players were originally nominated for the award.
Overall, Vigil is the only player from the Mountain West and the state of Utah to be listed among the 10 semifinalists.
The Burlsworth Trophy, now in its fifth year, is given annually to the most outstanding football player in America who began his career as a walk-on.
Vigil joins Justin Hardy (East Carolina, wide receiver), Mark Weisman (Iowa, running back), Jonathan Truman (Kansas State, linebacker), Chris Jasperse (Marshall, center), Jack Conklin (Michigan State, offensive tackle), Ben Beckwith (Mississippi State, guard), Mack Hollins (North Carolina, wide receiver), Joe Schmidt (Notre Dame, linebacker) and David Parry (Stanford, defensive tackle) on the list of semifinalists.
Fans will be allowed to vote for their favorite player via the Fan Vote beginning today, Nov. 18 at 1:00 PM MST. Voting can be accessed at www.burlsworthtrophy.com and will begin with the top 10 semi-finalists and continue as the selection committee announces the top three Burlsworth Trophy finalists on Nov. 25th. Fans are limited to one vote per day, and the voting for the semi-finalist round will conclude on Nov. 20th at midnight CST. Finalists will be honored and the winner of the 2014 Burlsworth Trophy announced Dec. 8th at a banquet in Springdale, Ark., sponsored by the Springdale Rotary Club.
The Fan Vote counts as 5 percent during each round of voting, and it is combined with the results from the Selection Committee. Fans can cast their vote for the nation’s most outstanding player who began his career as a walk-on once per day. Fan Vote totals are cleared after each round.
Vigil, a 6-2, 240-pound senior linebacker from Clearfield, Utah (Clearfield HS) walked-on the Utah State football team during his freshman season in 2010. As a redshirt freshman in 2011, Vigil appeared in four games and registered four tackles.
Vigil was then awarded a scholarship prior to his sophomore season where he started all 13 games and earned second-team all-Western Athletic Conference honors as he ranked second on the team, fifth in the conference and 84th in the nation with 105 tackles (8.1 pg). He also led the team and ranked tied for sixth in the WAC with 9.5 tackles for loss (0.73 pg), and was second on the team and tied for seventh in the WAC with 5.5 sacks (0.42 pg).
As a junior, Vigil started all 14 games and earned second-team all-Mountain West honors as he ranked second on the team, seventh in the conference and 42nd in the nation with 8.9 tackles per game. Overall, he recorded 124 total tackles (47-solo, 77-assist), which was tied for the 17th-most in the nation at the FBS level. He also ranked second on the team with 12.5 tackles for loss to go along with 2.0 sacks, two forced fumbles and one interception.
Through 11 games during his senior season, Vigil leads the team with 114 total tackles, while also ranking first in tackles for loss (15.0) and second in sacks (6.5). Overall, he ranks second in the Mountain West and 15th in the nation in tackles (10.4 pg), third in the MW in tackles for loss (1.36 pg), and third in the MW and 68th in the nation in sacks (0.59 pg).
For his career, Vigil ranks tied for eighth all-time in school history with 347 tackles as he has 17 career double-digit tackle outings, including six this season. Overall, Vigil is one of just four players in school history to record 100-plus tackles in three different seasons.
For Utah State, Vigil’s nomination marks the fifth time in as many years that USU has had a player nominated for The Burlsworth Award joining linebacker Jake Doughty (2013), safety McKade Brady (2012), wide receiver Eric Moats (2011) and defensive lineman Levi Koskan (2010). Doughty was also named a semifinalist for the award in 2013.
The Burlsworth Trophy is named after Brandon Burlsworth who walked on to Arkansas’ football team in 1994 without one Division I scholarship offer. At Arkansas, Burlsworth 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 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, in particular those children that have limited opportunities.
For more information about the Burlsworth Trophy, visit www.burlsworthtrophy.com.
Utah State (8-3, 5-1 MW) continues Mountain West play this weekend with its home finale against San José State (3-7, 2-4 MW) on Friday, Nov. 21 at 7:30 p.m., in a game that will be nationally televised on ESPN2.
For Aggie football ticket information, fans can contact the USU Athletics Ticket Office over the phone by calling 1-888-USTATE-1 or 435-797-0305 during regular hours of operation. Fans can also buy their tickets in person at the USU Ticket Office inside the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum or online by clicking on the “Buy Tickets” tab at www.UtahStateAggies.com.
Fans can follow the Aggie football program at twitter.com/USUFootball or on Facebook at Utah State Football, as well as on Instagram at instagram.com/USUFootball. Aggie fans can also follow the Utah State athletic program at twitter.com/USUAthletics or on Facebook at Utah State University Athletics.