TEMPE, Ariz. – Arizona State University football student-athlete Gannon Conway has been nominated for the 2013 Burlsworth Trophy, 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.
Conway, a redshirt senior defensive end, is a local product from Gilbert’s Higley High and Mesa Community College, He has 20 tackles, including 5.5 for loss and three sacks, and has added a pass breakup through nine games this season.
Conway, who graduated from Higley in 2007, did not receive any Div. I scholarship offers out of high school and elected to play at Mesa Community College during the 2008 season. He then went on an LDS mission before enrolling at ASU as a walk-on prior to the 2010 season. He was awarded a scholarship in Spring 2011 and appeared in six games that following season. He played in 10 games in 2012 before he was named a starter at defensive end in 2013.
Conway played a large role in holding Washington’s Bishop Sankey, who entered the game as the nation’s leading rusher, to just 22 yards in ASU’s 53-24 win over the Huskies on Oct. 19 and also recorded a career-high five tackles in the Devils’ 20-19 win over Utah on Nov. 9.
The Sun Devils currently rank 14th in the nation in total defense, allowing just over 330 yards per game, and are sixth in the nation in first downs defense as they’ve allowed just 140 through nine games. The defense has held four opponents under 100 yards rushing this year, including three straight between Oct. 12 and Oct. 31 for the first time since 2009.
“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.
About the Burlsworth Trophy
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.