TAMPA (USF) – Graduate wide receiver Sean Atkins (Viera) has been nominated for the 2023 Burlsworth Trophy, recognizing the most outstanding player from Division I (FBS) football who began their career as a walk-on.
Atkins, who is in his fifth season as a Bull, earned a scholarship prior to the start of the 2021 season and has gone on to become the team’s third-leading receiver in 2022 (19 catches, 238 yards, 3 touchdowns) before elevating to the team’s number one target in 2023. His career-best year has the 5-10 receiver on pace to break USF’s single-season receptions record (67, set in 2016 by Rodney Adams) and possibly challenge for the single-season receiving yards record (879, set in 2017 by Marquez Valdes-Scantling).
Atkins has 51 receptions (3rd in the AAC/17th nationally) and 550 receiving yards to date to lead the Bulls. He has collected four or more catches in every game on the season and has logged four games with seven or more, including his last three outings in which he has totaled 23 receptions (7.7 per game). He has led USF in receptions in five games and in receiving yards in three, including a career-best 116 yards and two touchdowns in a win at Navy, which included an 88-yard touchdown reception.
In the award’s fourteenth year, the Trophy is named in honor of Brandon Burlsworth, former University of Arkansas Walk-On and All-American offensive lineman. Each nominee must have begun his first season of participation with FBS (D1) football program without financial aid of any kind from his university’s athletic department. The 2022 winner was quarterback Stetson Bennett from the University of Georgia.
The Bulls (4-4; 2-2 AAC) hit the road again Saturday when they take on conference foe Memphis (6-2; 3-1 AAC) in a 3:00 p.m. kick at Liberty Stadium in Memphis, Tennessee. The game will be broadcast on ESPN+ and can be heard on 102.5 FM and Bulls Unlimited on TuneIn radio.