Michigan State senior defensive end Kenny Willekes won the Burlsworth Trophy on Monday, awarded to the top college football player in the country who began his career as a walk-on.
The 6-foot-4, 260-pound Willekes beat out two other finalists — California defensive end Ashtyn Davis and Georgia kicker Rodrigo Blankenship — for the award.
Willekes, a Rockford native who starred at NorthPointe Christian in Grand Rapids, was an All-Big Ten first-team selection by the media this past season. He's a two-time Most Valuable Player at Michigan State.
He has 69 total tackles, including a team-leading 14.5 for loss and nine sacks, this season. Willekes also has a pair of fumble recoveries.
The trophy is in its 10th year. Former Clemson receiver Hunter Renfrow, now with the Oakland Raiders, won the award last season.