Junior offensive guard Spencer Long was one of 10 semifinalists for the Burlsworth Trophy, the selection committee announced on Tuesday. Long was one of four players from the Big Ten Conference among the 10 semifinalists.
Named in honor of Brandon Burlsworth, an Arkansas walk-on who went on to become an All-American before losing his life in a car crash 11 days after he was drafted by the Indianapolis Colts, the trophy is presented annually to the nation's most outstanding football player that began his career as a walk-on. Nebraska has a semifinalist for the trophy for the second straight season, as center Mike Caputo was a semifinalist for the Burlsworth Trophy as a senior in 2011.
A native of Elkhorn, Neb., Long walked on to the Husker program in 2009. After redshirting his first year and not seeing any game action in 2010, Long was one of three offensive linemen to start every game in 2011. His play on the line helped Nebraska rank 14th nationally in rushing offense and paved the way for All-Big Ten running back Rex Burkhead to rush for 1,357 yards. Long, who earned a scholarship prior to this season, has again been one of the conference's best linemen this fall. A 2011 second-team All-Big Ten selection, Long has started every game this fall, helping the Huskers rank eighth nationally in rushing offense, 20th in total offense and 23rd in scoring offense. With Long and his teammates leading the way, Nebraska has produced a total of 13 individual 100-yard rushing games in only 11 contests this season.
Long has also excelled in the classroom at Nebraska. He was an academic All-District VII selection as a sophomore last season, and Long earned the same honor again this fall. He is a strong candidate to bring home CoSIDA Academic All-America accolades. He carries a 3.75 cumulative grade-point average as a biological sciences major.
Fans are encouraged to vote for their favorite player at www.burslworthtrophy.com. From the list of 10 semifinalists, three finalists will be announced on Tuesday, Nov. 27. The winner of the 2012 Burlsworth Trophy will be announced on Dec. 3 at a banquet in Springdale, Ark., sponsored by the Springdale Rotary Club.
Andrew Abbott, Sr., SS, UCLA
Jared Abbrederis, Jr., WR, Wisconsin
Ezekial Ansah, Sr., DL, BYU
B.J. Finney, So., C, Kansas State
Jordan Kovacs, Sr., S, Michigan
Alex Kupper, Sr., OT, Louisville
Spencer Long, Jr., OG, Nebraska
Matt McGloin, Sr., QB, Penn State
David Quessenberry, Sr., OT, San Jose State
Andrew Seumalo, Sr., DT, Oregon State