Bryson Barnes Named Semifinalist For Burlsworth Trophy

Nov 7, 2023, 12:19 PM

SALT LAKE CITY – Bryson Barnes is not the hero Utah fans asked for, but he might be the one they needed as he was named a semifinalist Tuesday afternoon for the Burlsworth Trophy.

Last week, Barnes was placed on the watchlist despite a rough outing against Oregon but has since moved on to the next round of consideration for the award after a solid performance against ASU.

The Burlsworth Trophy is given annually to the most outstanding football player who began his career as a walk-on. The award is named after Brandon Burlsworth, a former University of Arkansas walk-on and All-American offensive lineman. The winner will be named on December 4, 2023.

Bryson Barnes’ Unexpected Season As QB1 For Utah

Barnes has played in 21 career games with seven starts so far.

In 2023, Barnes has played in eight games with six starts and currently sits at 6-1 as the starter, leading the Utes to five victories to this point in 2023 and one Washington State in 2022.

Barnes has sparked a lot of curiosity in the college football world with one of those unique, feel-good stories fans love to read about.

Barnes joined the Utes as a walk-on in 2020, but it was at the 2022 Rose Bowl where he made his presence felt nearly leading Utah to a victory after starter Cam Rising exited the game with a concussion.

Part of what has peaked college football fans’ curiosity about Barnes is the fact he hails from a very small town in Utah called Milford.

Located in the south-west corner of Utah in Beaver County, Milford boasts a population of 1,431 according to the 2020 census. It also mainly boasts farmland which brings us to our next point.


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Barnes grew up on his family’s farm and raised an estimated 12,000 or so pigs according to his University of Utah player bio.

Utah football opened up their 2023 season hosting the Florida Gators at Rice-Eccles Stadium. The Utes were unfortunately without starter Cam Rising who is still recovering from an ACL tear earlier in the year against Penn State at the Rose Bowl.

In Barnes’ second career start, he wasted little time letting everyone know Utah would be ok under his leadership dropping back and launching a 70-yard touchdown pass to receiver Money Parks in his first play of the game.

Last weekend Barnes posted a career day against the Sun Devils going 19 of 28 passing for 161 yards and four touchdown passes.

Michelle Bodkin is the Utah Utes Insider for KSLsports.com and host of both the Crimson Corner Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and The Saturday Show (Saturday from 10 a.m.–12 p.m.) on The KSL Sports Zone. Follow her on XInstagram, and Threads: @BodkinKSLsports

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Bryson Barnes Named Semifinalist For Burlsworth Trophy