The nation’s top former walk-on belongs to Penn State.
Fifth-year senior quarterback Matt McGloin won the Burlsworth Trophy during a ceremony Monday in Springdale, Ark.
Michigan safety Jordan Kovacs and San Jose State tackle David Quessenberry were the other finalists.
The trophy honors the top player who started his career as a walk-on.
“It is great for the University,” McGloin said at the ceremony. “To be honored as the top walk-on for this year’s graduating class is a great honor. I wouldn’t have been able to be here without the support of my family, teammates, coaches and fans. It’s really because of those people that I am where I am today and am able to win such a prestigious award.”
McGloin enrolled in Penn State in 2008 without a scholarship despite a solid career at West Scranton High School. Division I-AA Lehigh was the only school to offer McGloin a scholarship.
Former coach Joe Paterno eventually awarded McGloin a scholarship and he shared the starting quarterback job with Rob Bolden from 2010-11.
Coach Bill O’Brien selected McGloin as the 2012 starter last June. McGloin responded by completing 270 of 446 passes for 3,266 yards while helping Penn State finish 8-4. He threw 24 touchdown passes and five interceptions.
McGloin set single-season school records for completions, attempts and passing yards. His 46 career touchdown passes are a school record.
“Today took me back to the beginning of my career,” McGloin said. “(This week) I looked back at what I have gone through and the journey that I have taken at Penn State and to be recognized for my accomplishments and the way that I got to Penn State is a true blessing. I am fortunate to be in the company of such great people that are involved with this award and to win such an amazing award today is just indescribable.”
The Burlsworth Trophy is named after former Arkansas lineman Brandon Burlsworth, who was killed in a car wreck 11 days after being selected by the Indianapolis Colts in the 1999 NFL Draft.
Fifty players were nominated for this year’s award. Georgia Tech lineman Sean Bedford and Southern Mississippi quarterback Austin Davis are the award’s past winners.