Missouri Tigers Football News: RB Cody Schrader Named 2023 Burlsworth Trophy Winner

By Marie Reader

Cody Schrader scores TD against Louisiana Tech (courtesy Missouri Athletics)

BENTONVILLE, Ark. – University of Missouri running back Cody Schrader was named the fourteenth winner of the Burlsworth Trophy at a ceremony held at Crystal Bridges Museum on Monday, December 4, 2023.

The award is given to the nation’s most outstanding player who began his career as a walk-on. On hand to make the announcement was Marty Burlsworth, Chairman and CEO of the Burlsworth Trophy. Other finalists for the award were James Carpenter, noseguard from James Madison and Drake Stoops, receiver from Oklahoma.

Schrader, a St. Louis, native, proved for three years he could dominate the NCAA Division II ranks. The 5-foot-9, 214-pounder has done very well against the SEC, too, giving Missouri an unexpected lift the past two seasons.

After leading the Tigers with more than 700 rushing yards last season as walk-on transfer from Truman (Mo.) State, Schrader has been even better in 2023 running for 1,625 yards and 13 touchdowns in the regular season. That is tops in the SEC for the Tigers, who went 10-2, overall, and 6-2 in the SEC regular season. Monday afternoon, Schrader was named First-Team All-SEC by the Associated Press.

Accepting the award, Schrader encouraged others – specifically young players – to never allow anyone to prevent them from achieving their dreams.

“My journey wasn’t easy – it definitely had a lot of lonely nights,”. “The only thing I stayed true to was the work. It takes the dedication and discipline – and you’ve got to love this game.”

Speaking to the other two finalists, Schrader simply said: “No matter what the outcome was tonight, we’ve already won because nobody believed we could be here.”

In a 36-7 Week 9 home win over Tennessee, Schrader became the first SEC player and 10th player in FBS history with 200-plus rushing yards and 100-plus receiving yards in the same game. He finished with 321 total yards and his 205 rushing yards marked the sixth time this season he’s crossed the 100-yard mark.

The Lutheran High School South product was unheralded when he arrived in Kirksville, Mo., to start his collegiate career despite breaking numerous school records at Lutheran.  However, after redshirting for the Bulldogs, he became a small-college star. In his final season in 2021, he ran for a Division II-leading 2,074 yards on 300 carries with 24 touchdowns eclipsing the 100-yard mark five times.

Schrader, who carried a 4.0 GPA his junior and senior years of high school, earned his college degree last December.

Past Burlsworth Trophy winners include:
2023- Cody Schrader, Running Back- Missouri
2022- Stetson Bennett, Quarterback- Georgia
2021- Grant Morgan, Linebacker- Arkansas
2020- Jimmy Morrissey, Center- Pittsburgh
2019- Kenny Willekes, Defensive End- Michigan State
2018- Hunter Renfrow, Receiver- Clemson
2017- Luke Falk, Quarterback- Washington State
2016- Baker Mayfield, Quarterback- Oklahoma
2015- Baker Mayfield, Quarterback- Oklahoma
2014- Justin Hardy, Receiver- East Carolina
2013- Jared Abbrederis, Receiver- Wisconsin
2012- Matt McGloin, Quarterback- Penn State
2011- Austin Davis, Quarterback- Southern Mississippi
2010- Sean Bedford, Center- Georgia Tech

For all the latest information on Mizzou Athletics, please visit MUTigers.com. For up-to-the-minute updates, follow Missouri football (@MizzouFootball) and Coach Drinkwitz (@CoachDrinkwitz) on X. You can also find the Tigers on Instagram and Facebook.

The trophy is named in honor of Brandon Burlsworth. Without one D1 scholarship offer, Brandon walked on to the Razorback team in 1994, worked his way to being 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 that have limited opportunities. Brandon Burlsworth’s life is also the subject of a major motion picture, “GREATER”, which was released in 2016.

For more information about the Burlsworth Trophy, visit burlsworthtrophy.com.