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What Happened To Brandon Burlsworth

What Happened To Brandon Burlsworth

The Legacy of Brandon Burlsworth

The Tragic and Inspiring Story of Brandon Burlsworth

Brandon Burlsworth’s journey from a college walk-on to an NFL draft pick is a story of determination and tragedy. His life, though cut short, continues to inspire many. Brandon, a standout offensive lineman at the University of Arkansas, became a symbol of hard work and perseverance in the face of adversity.

From Walk-on to All-American

Brandon Burlsworth’s football career began modestly at the University of Arkansas in 1994. Despite having offers from smaller colleges, he chose to walk on at Arkansas, betting on himself to earn a scholarship. His dedication paid off as he not only earned a scholarship but also became a starting right guard and eventually, an All-American. His transformation from a walk-on to a top player is a testament to his relentless work ethic and determination.

A Dream Cut Short

After his successful college career, Brandon was selected by the Indianapolis Colts in the third round of the 1999 NFL Draft. However, tragedy struck just eleven days after the draft. Brandon was returning home to Harrison, Arkansas, when he was involved in a fatal car accident. This devastating event occurred on April 28, 1999, marking a sorrowful end to what could have been a promising NFL career.

Impact and Memory

Brandon’s legacy extends far beyond the football field. Known for his kindness and humility, he left a lasting impact on everyone he met. His character was exemplified by his decision to skip a team ring ceremony to have dinner with his mother and attend a church service. His life, though brief, was marked by moments of selflessness and dedication.

Continued Influence

The Indianapolis Colts and the University of Arkansas have both honored Brandon’s memory in numerous ways. The Colts commemorated him by wearing a “BB” sticker on their helmets during the 1999 season, and the University of Arkansas retired his jersey number. His locker remains preserved in a glass case, a solemn tribute to his enduring influence.

Brandon Burlsworth Foundation

In his honor, the Brandon Burlsworth Foundation was established to continue his legacy of helping others. The foundation supports underprivileged children, providing them with opportunities for better education and sports participation. Programs like “Burls Kids” and “Eyes of a Champion” are a part of the foundation’s efforts to impact lives in the way Brandon did.

Legacy in Film and Literature

Brandon’s inspiring life story has been captured in the book “Through the Eyes of a Champion” and the film “Greater.” These works share his journey and the profound impact he had on those around him, serving as a source of motivation for many.


  • What was Brandon Burlsworth’s position in football?
    Brandon played as an offensive lineman for the Arkansas Razorbacks and was drafted as a guard by the Indianapolis Colts.
  • How did Brandon Burlsworth die?
    He died in a car accident while returning to his hometown in Arkansas, just days after being drafted into the NFL.
  • What is the Brandon Burlsworth Foundation?
    The foundation was established to honor Brandon’s memory and values, supporting the physical and spiritual needs of children, particularly those with limited opportunities.
  • Has Brandon Burlsworth received any posthumous honors?
    Yes, his jersey number was retired by the University of Arkansas, and he has been commemorated by the Colts and in various other ways, including the Burlsworth Trophy awarded to college football’s most outstanding player who began his career as a walk-on.
  • What is the significance of the “BB” sticker?
    The “BB” sticker worn by the Colts during the 1999 season was in memory of Brandon Burlsworth, symbolizing their respect and mourning for their teammate.
  • Where can I learn more about Brandon Burlsworth’s life?
    His life is detailed in the book “Through the Eyes of a Champion” and depicted in the film “Greater.” Both provide a comprehensive look at his life and legacy.

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