MADISON, Wis. -- The latest in a long line of walk-on success stories at Wisconsin, junior WR Jared Abbrederis was announced Tuesday as one of 10 semifinalists for the Burlsworth Trophy.
The award is presented annually to the most outstanding player that began his career as a walk-on.
Abbrederis fits the bill as a former walk-on who was awarded a scholarship prior to the start of the 2012 season. The Wautoma, Wis., native is the Badgers’ leading receiver and ranks second in the Big Ten, averaging 72.9 receiving yards per game. He ranks fourth among active FBS players with an average of 16.8 yards per reception for his career and is tied for sixth in UW history with 12 career touchdown catches.
Earlier this season, Abbrederis became the first UW player to record three consecutive 100-yard receiving games since Lee Evans accomplished the feat in 2003. Abbrederis had 147 yards vs. UTEP, 142 yards at Nebraska and 117 yards vs. Illinois.
Despite missing the second half of UW’s game vs. Oregon State and the entire Utah State game, Abbredreis ranks fourth in the Big Ten with 729 receiving yards this season.
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.
The Burlsworth Trophy is named for Brandon Burlsworth, who walked on at Arkansas and developed into a three-year starter and All-American for the Razorbacks. Burlsworth was killed in a car accident shortly after being selected by Indianapolis in the 1999 NFL Draft.
Three finalists will be selected from the semifinalist pool on Nov. 27, and the winner will be announced Dec. 3 at a banquet in Springdale, Ark.
Fans can vote for their choice from Nov. 20-26 by logging on to www.burlsworthtrophy.com. The fan votes will be combined with the votes of a selection committee to determine the finalists.