As far as Jared Abbrederis praise goes, you're in the right place. We are, after all, a Wisconsin sports blog.
We also don't make a huge deal about the press releases lauding whomever as a semifinalist for Award X, or whatever. After all, we are talking about a major Division I program currently in the midst of a stellar stretch of seasons.
So when word came across that Jared Abbrederis was named 1 of 10 semifinalists for the Burlsworth Trophy, my first response was this: what the heck is the Burlsworth Trophy? Must be fictional!
Turns out, it's not, and it's kinda cool. Each year, the trophy honors college football's top player that began as a walk-on. Abbrederis did indeed begin his collegiate career as such, initially coming to UW as a high school quarterback from Wautoma, Wis. Now a junior, Abbrederis earned a scholarship prior to the season and has lived up to the bill as Wisconsin's leading receiver with 41 receptions for 729 yards and five touchdowns. His 72.9 receiving yards per game rank second in the Big Ten, and his career average of 16.8 yards per reception rank fourth among active FBS players.
Not that you'd need the reminder, but Wisconsin's release naturally touts the program's success with walk-ons. This tidbit, though, is pretty cool:
Abbrederis is one of 73 walk-ons who have earned a scholarship at Wisconsin since former coach Barry Alvarez began emphasizing the walk-on program in 1990. He is one of seven former walk-ons on the Badgers' current roster who are regular starters for UW this season.
Props, Jared. Props. In case you're wondering, here is the full list of Burlsworth Trophy semifinalists (short bios here):
|DL Ezekiel Ansah (Sr.)||BYU|
|C B.J. Finney (So.)||Kansas State|
|DT Andrew Seumalo (Sr.)||Oregon State|
|QB Matthew McGloin (Sr.)||Penn State|
|T David Quessenberry (Sr.)||San Jose State University|
|SS Andrew Abbott (Sr.)||UCLA|
|T Alex Kupper (Sr.)||Louisville|
|S Jordan Kovacs (Sr.)||Michigan|
|G Spencer Long (Jr.)||Nebraska|
|WR Jared Abbrederis (Jr.)||Wisconsin|
Also, in case you're wondering, the Burlsworth Trophy is named for Brandon Burlsworth, a walk-on at Arkansas who developed into a three-year starter and All-American for the Razorbacks. Sadly, Burlsworth was killed in a car accident shortly after being selected by the Indianapolis Colts in the 1999 NFL Draft.