The University of Arkansas prides itself on doing things the “Burls Way.”
The mindset, which is inspired by former student Brandon Burlsworth, is all about doing things “the best you can,” high school football coach Tommy Tice told “GMA.”
Tice, who was Burlsworth’s high school football coach, remembers Burlsworth as a hardworking kid who had dreams of playing football for the University of Arkansas Razorbacks.
“Being a Razorback, I mean, growing up, every boy that’s interested in athletics in this state -- to be a Razorback is the ultimate,” Burlsworth’s brother, Marty Burlsworth, told “Good Morning America.”
Burlsworth’s dream was a lofty one, as an unathletic kid -- as many remember him -- he would have to work harder than anyone to have a shot. Which is what he did.
“He’ll outwork anybody,” Marty Burlsworth said. “That’s always what he would be the first one in the weight room and he would be the last one to leave. That’s the way it had to be.”
By the end of his senior year of high school, Burlsworth had played well enough to earn scholarship offers at some schools, but not at Arkansas. However, he was offered a walk-on spot at his dream school.
He could play for his home state Razorbacks, but, as a walk-on, he would have to pay his own tuition.
Recognizing it was her son's dream, Burlsworth’s mother took out a mortgage on the family home. After a year as a walk-on, he was rewarded with a full scholarship.
Burlsworth went on to become one of the best players in the country. He also earned his master's degree.
After his time at the University of Arkansas, Burlsworth set his eyes on the NFL. He was drafted in 1999 by the Indianapolis Colts.
But just 11 days after being drafted, he was killed in a car crash.
The Burlsworth family is now keeping Brandon’s legacy alive with a foundation in his name. The Burlsworth Foundation provides underprivileged kids with corrective glasses and a chance to go to football camp.
“I don’t want him forgotten,” said Brandon’s brother, Marty, who is also president, CEO and founder of the foundation. “I don’t want to forget. And in doing so, we’re able to help so many kids.”
To help the foundation continue its mission of providing opportunities to young football lovers and children across Arkansas, "GMA" and Wells Fargo surprised the group on Wednesday with $10,000.