Summary

Birth:
Harrison, Arkansas 1
Death:
Alpena, Arkansas 1
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Personal Details

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Full Name:
Brandon V Burlsworth 2
Birth:
Harrison, Arkansas 1
Male 1
Birth:
20 Sep 1976 2
Death:
Alpena, Arkansas 1
Cause: Automobile Accident 1
Death:
28 Apr 1999 2
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Birth:
Mother: Barbara Burlsworth 1
Father: Leo Burlsworth 1
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Social Security:
Card Issued: Unknown Code (72) 2
Social Security Number: ***-**-4596 2

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Obit

FAYETTEVILLE -- Brandon Burlsworth, who fulfilled his dreams by becoming an Arkansas Razorbacks All-American and NFL Draft pick, was killed in a car crash Wednesday on a highway he had traveled hundreds of times. The vehicle Burlsworth was driving collided with a tractor-trailer in the late afternoon near Carrollton at U.S. 412 and Carrollton Road, according to family and friends. Burlsworth, 22, was driving from Fayetteville to his hometown, Harrison, a commute he'd often made weekly after enrolling at the University of Arkansas in 1994. The crash occurred at approximately 4:15 p.m. and he was the only person in the car, Carroll County deputy coroner Wyatte Hittson said. No further details were available, pending release of the state police accident report. Just 11 days earlier, the Indianapolis Colts had drafted Burlsworth with the second pick of the third round, 63rd overall. "There wasn't a better person than Brandon Burlsworth," Arkansas Coach Houston Nutt said. "He left something behind that nobody will ever forget. He does everything the right way. You talk about special, that doesn't even say enough. "It's such a tragedy." Burlsworth worked out at the university Wednesday morning, his brother Marty Burlsworth said. He was to eat lunch with a friend and then drive to Harrison to be with his family. The two brothers talked by phone at about 11:30 a.m. Brandon told Marty he'd lost a hubcap off his car and wanted Marty to help him find another one. Brandon Burlsworth was expected to arrive home around 4 or 4:30 p.m. and the family was surprised when they had not heard from him by that time, Marty Burlsworth said. State police came to the house of their mother, Barbara Burlsworth, about 6:45 p.m. The state police called Marty Burlsworth and told him he needed to go to his mother's house. "I braced myself for the worst and as unreal as it seems that was the case," Marty Burlsworth said. "We're stunned. It's just one of those things you don't anticipate. You don't ever know why something like this happens." At 4 p.m., Nutt was presenting players with rings commemorating Arkansas' SEC West co-championship. Word of the ceremony never reached Burlsworth. Players did not know about Burlsworth's death until Wednesday night when it spread by word of mouth. Nutt said he was unsure if a team meeting would be called for today but that he expected players would assemble at the Broyles Center regardless. May 10 was to be Brandon Burlsworth Day in Harrison sponsored by the Harrison Razorback Club with a ceremony at Northwest Arkansas Community College. Originally, 800 tickets were offered and sold out quickly. Another 200 tickets were added and they sold, too. "Around here in this town, he was the man," his brother said. "He was the local star. He couldn't go anywhere without signing autographs, which never bothered him. He liked doing it." Only a few small schools offered Burlsworth a scholarship out of Harrison High School in 1994, but he walked on at Arkansas determined to make it at the major college level. In the next year, he started rebuilding his body in the weight room and earned a scholarship. Burlsworth went on to start three seasons. He earned All-American honors last season and anchored a veteran line that helped lead the Razorbacks to a 9-3 record and the Citrus Bowl. In the last eight months, Burlsworth ascended from little-known NFL prospect to one of the top three guards available, according to several predraft reports. He ran the fastest 40-yard dash time of any lineman at the NFL Scouting Combine in February, and he continued to impress scouts during individual workouts in March. Burlsworth was the third guard chosen in the draft. "I couldn't have ever dreamed of this happening when I first got here," Burlsworth said in an interview two weeks ago. "I thought I'd be able to play for the Razorbacks, but the NFL was the last thing on my mind. "The way things have gone, it's like a storybook. I don't think I could have written it up any better than how it's all happened." Colts officials were withholding comment until a later time. "Without knowing the details, our hearts and prayers go out to the family," Colts spokesman Craig Kelley said. Burlsworth was known to teammates as a disciplined player on and off the field, one who did not drink, smoke or use foul language. He had a work ethic that several players said was unparalleled on the team, and he was a strong student who in December earned his master's degree in business administration. The son of a country musician, Burlsworth was raised by his mother, who sells real estate in Harrison. In an interview last August, Burlsworth credited his mother with instilling that work ethic in him. Teammates considered Burlsworth one of the most well-liked players even though he usually was quiet. Most players didn't know Burlsworth's father, Leo, had been sick with cancer when Leo Burlsworth died in 1997. It was his nature not to lay out his concerns for everyone to see, friends said. He kept private matters private and relied on his Christian faith. Nothing Burlsworth did would have been possible "if the Lord Jesus Christ wasn't in my life," Burlsworth said in the August interview. "I'm glad he was able to accomplish all he did at the university," Marty Burlsworth said. "It's sad he wasn't able to go on and complete his goals in the NFL. He was off to a good start. "He's been an example to the young people and what you could do even as a walk-on, how you could fulfill your goals." Burlsworth is survived by his mother, Barbara Burlsworth of Harrison; and his brothers Marty Burlsworth of Harrison and Grady Burlsworth of Ohio.  

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