Former Tide Walk-on Up For Award

One of the memorable moments from Alabama’s 30-16 win over LSU Saturday came on Bama’s final touchdown, a 7-yard run by Derrick Henry – his third of the game.

Alabama finished off an 11-play, 73-yard drive and went up 27-10 on Derrick Henry’s run, which was aided by a punishing block from fullback Michael Nysewander.

Nysewander, a 6-1, 237-pound fifth-year senior from Hoover, had an emotional celebration with Henry in the end zone after the TD.

Wednesday it was announced that Nysewander is one of 55 players nominated for the Bursworth Trophy, presented by the Springdale (Ark.) Rotary Club to the nation’s most outstanding player who began his career as a walk-on.

Nysewander has filled a role on offense as a blocker at fullback and tight end, while opening holes for one of the SEC’s top rushing attacks. The former walk-on, who was given a scholarship last spring, has also become one of the Crimson Tide’s top defenders on kickoff coverage, tying for the team lead with five stops. He earned special teams player of the week honors from the Alabama coaching staff for his efforts against Middle Tennessee.

A walk-on is defined as a player who began his first season of participation with a D1 (FBS) football program without financial aid of any kind from his university’s athletics department. The Burlsworth Trophy honors outstanding players that represent character, hard work, dedication to the sport and their school, and a unique desire to excel at the highest level.

Alabama Coach Nick Saban said, “He's just one of those throwback players to me. You've got to love him. I get a smile on my face every time I talk about him. He's just a tough grinder. He does a really good job for us on special teams and he's a very productive fullback. He's a fifth-year guy around here and he's worked hard and it's finally paying off for him.”

Nysewander and the rest of the second-ranked Crimson Tide (8-1 overall, 5-1 in Southeastern Conference play) will travel to Starkville Saturday for an SEC road matchup with the No. 17 Mississippi State Bulldogs (7-2, 3-2). Kickoff is set for 2:30 p.m. CST and will be televised on CBS.

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