Today in Springdale, Ark., Wyoming Cowboy senior free safety Marcus Epps was honored as one of the three national finalists for the 2018 Burlsworth Trophy. The trophy is awarded to the most outstanding football player in America who began his career as a walk-on. Monday’s luncheon ceremony was hosted by the Brandon Burlsworth Foundation in conjunction with the Springdale Rotary Club.
It was announced at today’s ceremony that the winner of the 2018 Burlsworth Trophy was Clemson University wide receiver Hunter Renfrow. The third finalist was University of California running back Patrick Laird.
Epps came to Wyoming in 2014 as a walk-on from Los Angeles, Calif. He redshirted his freshman season. In 2015, Epps earned a starting spot at safety and was rewarded with a scholarship. Since that time, he has started 50 games and the last 49 consecutive games at safety for the Cowboys.
Epps is the only player in 122 seasons of Wyoming Football to be elected a team captain in three different seasons.
He concluded his Wyoming career with 325 career tackles, and finished only nine tackles away from the Wyoming career Top 10. Among all active FBS players, Epps tied for 12th in career interceptions, with nine, and he ranked No. 23 in the nation among active players with career solo tackles, averaging 4.30 per game.
Under his leadership, Wyoming was bowl elgibile all three years he was a voted a team captain and made consecutive bowl appearances in the 2016 Poinsettia Bowl and the 2017 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. The Cowboys also made their first appearance in the Mountain West Championship Game in 2016.
Epps is a father. He and his girlfriend, Megan, are parents of two-year old son Braxton.
The Burlsworth Trophy is named in honor of Brandon Burlsworth. Without one D1 scholarship offer, Brandon walked on to the Arkansas Razorback football team in 1994, worked his way into becoming a three-year starter and was eventually named an All-American in 1998. Burlsworth was selected as the 63rd overall pick by the Indianapolis Colts in the 1999 NFL draft, but was tragically killed in a car accident 11 days later. The Burlsworth Foundation was created in his memory and supports the physical and spiritual needs of children, in particular those children who have limited opportunities.