East Carolina wide receiver Justin Hardy was famously – and ridiculously – left off the Biletnikoff Award semifinalist list back in November, but he took home a nice consolation prize on Monday. Hardy was named the winner of the Burlsworth Trophy as the nation’s top former walk-on.
He received the honor at a ceremony in Springdale, Ark., on Monday night. The ECU play-maker beat out Mississippi State offensive lineman Ben Beckwith and Iowa running back Mark Weisman.
Last month Hardy surpassed Oklahoma’s Ryan Broyles as FBS’s all-time leader in receptions.
Hardy leads the nation in receptions per game (9.17), ranks sixth in receiving yards per game (111.2) and places 20th with nine touchdown grabs.
Hardy is the fifth Burlsworth Trophy winner, joining Sean Benford (Georgia Tech, 2010), Austin Davis (Southern Miss, 2011), Matt McGloin (Penn State, 2012) and Jared Abbrederis (Wisconsin, 2013).
The trophy is named in honor of former Arkansas walk-on Brandon Burlsworth, who earned All-America honors in 1998 was drafted by the Indianapolis Colts in 1999 but slain in a car accident before his NFL career began.
Hardy will conclude his collegiate career in the Birmingham Bowl against Florida on Jan. 3.