Burlsworth, Harris nominated to College Football Hall of Fame

Former Razorbacks Brandon Burlsworth and Leotis Harris are candidates for the 2013 College Football Hall of Fame Class, it was announced Tuesday (Mar. 5).

“We are pleased that Brandon and Leotis have been selected for the College Football Hall of Fame ballot,” Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Jeff Long said in a statement. “It is a tribute to their outstanding careers and the tradition of Razorback Football that the University of Arkansas has two student-athletes among only 77 players eligible for induction. Not only were Brandon and Leotis tremendous football players, their personal stories and success continue to serve as an inspiration to all Razorback student-athletes.”

Burlsworth came to Arkansas as a walk-on in 1994 and was named a first-team All-American by Football News and a second-team All-American by the Associated Press as a senior in 1998. He was the first Razorback football student-athlete to earn a master’s degree before his eligibility expired and is one of two football Razorbacks, along with 1948 Olympic silver medalist Clyde Scott, to have their number retired.

Following his collegiate career, Burlsworth was taken in the third round of the 1999 NFL Draft by the Indianapolis Colts but was killed in an automobile accident near his home in Harrison, Ark., before training camp.

His legacy continues to be celebrated through the Brandon Burlsworth Foundation, an organization dedicated to assisting children, and the Burlsworth Trophy, which has been awarded since 2010 to the nation’s top player who began his career as a walk-on.

Harris was a mainstay on the Arkansas offensive line from 1974-77, literally paving the way for some of the most prolific offenses in school history as well as for future Razorbacks. From his offensive guard spot, he was the first African-American Razorback football player to receive All-America honors, a recognition earned in 1977 after Arkansas posted an 11-1 record.

He also was a first-team All-Southwest Conference selection that season as the Razorbacks piled up 412.9 yards of total offense per game, including 273.7 rushing. In his sophomore season, he helped Arkansas average a school-record 320.3 rushing yards per game and win a share of the SWC championship. He was named to the Razorback All-Century Team and the 1970s All-Decade Team selected in 1994 as part of the UA football centennial celebration. He was a sixth-round draft pick by Green Bay in 1978 and appeared in 74 games over six seasons with the Packers.

The 2013 College Football Hall of Fame Class will be announced May 7 live from the NASDAQ MarketSite in New York City from the candidate group of 77 players and five coaches.

The College Football Hall of Fame ballot will be mailed this week to the more than 12,000 National Football Foundation members and current Hall of Famers whose votes will be tabulated and submitted to the NFF’s Honors Court, which deliberates and selects the class. Chaired by Gene Corrigan, a former ACC Commissioner and NCAA president, the 14-member NFF Honors Court includes an elite and geographically diverse pool of athletics directors, conference commissioners, Hall of Famers and members of the media.

The Razorbacks have had 18 former student-athletes or coaches inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame, including Scott, Frank Broyles, Lance Alworth, Barry Switzer, Lou Holtz, Ronnie Caveness and Jimmy Johnson.