MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Memphis wide receiver Calvin Austin III has been selected as one of 10 semifinalists for the Burlsworth Trophy, awarded annually to the most outstanding player who began their career as a walk-on.
Austin III, who has been named an All-AAC first-team selection, had a breakout season in 2020. The junior from Memphis set a school record with five consecutive games of at least 100 receiving yards. The streak began with a 151-yard performance on Oct. 17 in a 50-49 win over UCF. He followed with stellar performances against Temple (184 yards), Cincinnati (121 yards), USF (102 yards) and Stephen F. Austin (173 yards).
He remains the only player this season with more than 100 yards against No. 8 Cincinnati, the top total defense in the American Athletic Conference.
The former walk-on had 1,025 receiving yards in the regular season to become just the fourth player in school history to surpass 1,000 yards in a season. He joins former Pro Football Hall of Famer Isaac Bruce, Chicago Bears wide receiver Anthony Miller and Damonte Coxie as Tigers to reach the 1,000-yard milestone.
Austin III currently ranks fifth among all FBS players with 10 receiving touchdowns this season and ninth in total receiving yards.
Also a member of the Memphis track and field team, Austin III joined the football program as a walk-on out of Harding Academy in Memphis. He was awarded a scholarship after having five catches for 81 yards and a touchdown in a win over Houston as a sophomore.
The Burlsworth Trophy selection committee will announce its top three finalists Dec. 22. Finalists will be honored and the winner of the 2020 Burlsworth Trophy will be announced Jan. 4 in a virtual ceremony.
Burlsworth Trophy Semifinalists
Grant Morgan, Arkansas, Linebacker, SR
Dax Milne, BYU, Wide Receiver, JR
Will Spiers, Clemson, Punter, SR
Sammy Thompson, Coastal Carolina, Center, SR
Keith Duncan, Iowa, Kicker, SR
Calvin Austin III, Memphis, Wide Receiver, JR
Chris Bergin, Northwestern, Linebacker, SR
Ry Schneider, Oklahoma State, Center, SR
Jimmy Morrissey, Pittsburgh, Center, SR
Carlton Martial, Troy, Linebacker, JR