USC senior fullback/linebacker Ross Cumming was announced Tuesday as one of 50 FBS players nominated for the Bulsworth Trophy, an annual award given out to players who began their college careers as walk-ons.
Cumming is one of seven Pac-12 players among the nominees, including UCLA cornerback Andrew Abbott, Stanford receiver Griff Whalen and Colorado defensive back Travis Sandersfeld.
The 24-year-old Cumming spent two years at Naval Academy preparatory school in 2006 and 2007 before being medically discharged, then earned preferred walk-on status at USC in the summer of 2008 to enroll at the school. He played on special teams his first two seasons with the Trojans and then, as he picked up some duties as a backup linebacker, earned a scholarship in August 2010.
This year, he has taken significant snaps at fullback and on special teams. He leads the Trojans with 15 special-teams tackles and has also recorded two catches for 16 yards on offense.
The Burlsworth Trophy, in its second season of existence, is named in honor of former Arkansas offensive lineman Brandon Burlsworth. He walked on to the Razorbacks squad without a scholarship offer and became a three-year starter and all-American by the time his college career was done.
He was then selected as the 63rd overall pick by the Indianapolis Colts in the 1999 NFL draft but killed in a car
accident 11 days later.
The first-ever award went to Georgia Tech center Sean Bedford after the 2010 season.