In Lauderdale County, a student athlete at Northeast Lauderdale Highschool was surprised with an award, recognizing his sense of character.
High School Senior, Tyler Smith, is the first in Lauderdale County to be honored with the Burlsworth Character Award.
The award is in honor of Brandon Burlsworth, a walk-on college football player who was tragically killed in a car accident, just 11 days after being drafted to the NFL in 1999 .
The award represents his ideals and values of having great character on and off the football field.
Honoree Tyler Smith was grateful to receive this award.
“I had no clue, I was surprised, I just cant express anything but thankfulness and just for this family I have at my school and the family that I have at home and coaches and staff and just people who care”, said Tyler Smith, Award Honoree.
Sharing that this award is now a part of his legacy.
“Ultimately what this legacy is --is I want people to see God through it and I want to be a leader and be the hands and feet of God and for the people to see that and I just hope to motivate that same character that I was taught and people can see that”, said Smith.
Coach Glen Sanders tells Twin States why he nominated Tyler for the award.
"Tyler walks this walk every single day of his life. It’s not a show, its not anything put on. I’ve been here two years; I’ve seen him walk the exact same walk each and every day. I hope it’s infectious, I hope people see that and want to follow that, because the characteristics of good sportsmanship and leadership, the Christian walk, the integrity that he displays on how he does things, those are great things and great characteristics and great traits to have, so yes I hope people decide to want to follow that”, said Sanders.
The Burlsworth Character Award was once only awarded to high school athletes in Arkansas, but has been awarded nationwide since 2016.