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From ‘lonely nights’ to Mizzou football stardom, Cody Schrader wins Burlsworth Trophy

Missouri football’s Cody Schrader has been awarded the Burlsworth Trophy, which goes to college football’s “most outstanding player who began his career as a walk-on.”

The dynamic Mizzou running back has posted eye-popping numbers, rushing for 1,489 yards and 13 touchdowns this season. He also has made 22 receptions for 191 yards in helping the Tigers to a 10-2 regular-season record and New Year’s Six bowl appearance vs. Ohio State.

Schrader is the 14th winner of the award. He received the honor at a ceremony at the Crystal Bridges Museum in Bentonville, Arkansas, on Monday.

Other finalists for the award were James Carpenter, a nose guard from James Madison, and Drake Stoops, a wide receiver at Oklahoma.

Listed at 5-9, 214 pounds, Schrader joined the Tigers after three years at the Division II level with Truman State.

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

The Mizzou Athletics release also noted that, speaking to the other finalists for the award, Schrader said: “No matter what the outcome was tonight, we’ve already won because nobody believed we could be here.”

Schrader’s jump to Missouri came after a monster season at the Division II level, when he ran for 2,074 yards on 300 carries (6.91 yards per carry), as well as 24 touchdowns.

He ran for 746 yards and nine touchdowns in 13 games with the Tigers last season, his first at the Division I FBS level.

A native of St. Louis, Missouri, Schrader saved some of his best with the Tigers for last, erupting for 217 rushing yards on 27 carries (8.0 yards per carry) and a touchdown in a win over the Arkansas Razorbacks.

According to the Columbia Daily Tribune, Schrader joked at the award ceremony: “First, I want to say thanks for safely allowing me back in the state of Arkansas,” poking fun at that late-season eruption.

Other big performances for Schrader included 205 rushing yards and a touchdown — plus 116 receiving yards — in a 36-7 win over then-No. 13 Tennessee back on Nov. 11.

He ran for 148 yards and a score in Missouri’s win over Florida and had 159 rushing yards and two touchdowns in a blowout victory over South Carolina.

The Mizzou Athletics release also went into detail on the namesake of the Burlsworth Trophy:

“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.”