FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Coastal Carolina redshirt senior center Sam Thompson was nominated for the Burlsworth Trophy, which is presented annually to the nation’s top play who began his career as a walk-on.
A 2020 Rimington Trophy watch list member, the 5-9, 300-pound former walk-on with no FBS or FCS offers coming out of high school joined the team in 2017 after attending Coastal Carolina University as a regular student in the 2016-17 academic year.
After playing in just two games his first two years on the team in 2017 and 2018, Thompson played in 11 contests, starting 10 at center in 2019. This season, he has started as the anchor of the offensive line at center in all 10 games for the No. 11/13 nationally-ranked Chanticleers.
Thompson has been a key part of the Chanticleers’ offense this season, which has helped lead Coastal to two wins over top 25 FBS nationally-ranked opponents, when the Sun Belt East Division Championship, and rank as high as No. 13 in the College Football Playoff rankings. All of which are program firsts.
CCU’s offense, which starts on Thompson’s snap, ranks fifth nationally in fourth-down conversion percentage (84.6 percent), sixth in third-down conversion percentage (53.6 percent), ninth in time of possession (34:02), and 10th in team passing efficiency (174.40).
However, most importantly, Thompson’s offensive line unit is second in the Sun Belt and 12th nationally in fewest sacks allowed per game this season at 1.10 per contest and is fourth nationally among all teams that have played 10 games or more this year having allowed just 11.0 sacks on the season.
Thompson graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business management in May 2020. The Burlsworth Trophy is named in honor of Brandon Burlsworth, former University of Arkansas Walk-On and All-American offensive lineman. Burlsworth’s life is also the subject of a major motion picture, “GREATER”, which was released in 2016.