HARRISON, Ark. – The inspirational story of a man from the Ozarks is featured in a new movie called “Greater.”
Harrison native, Brandon Burlsworth, is known as one of the greatest walk-ons in college football history. His work ethic not only made him a fan favorite in Arkansas in the late 90s, it also took him to the National Football League.
“[The movie] depicts his faith and his inspirational values, especially for younger people,” says Harrison Mayor, Dan Sherrell, “they may see in life what they can do.”
Sherrell has named August 26 “Brandon Burlsworth Day” in Harrison, coinciding with the release of the new film..
Sherrell saw one of the first chapters of the young star’s life first hand, as Burlsworth’s youth baseball coach.
“If you’d have looked at him them, and then looked at him when he got through high school and into college, you’d say, ‘well he’s not going to be an athlete,’” he says.
Burlsworth excelled, both in the classroom and on the field, after walking onto the Razorbacks. He was named All SEC, All American and was later taken in the third round of the NFL Draft by the Indianapolis Colts in 1999.
“He gives everybody an opportunity to know whatever dreams you have, you can achieve it as long as you work hard,” says Harrison resident, Beau Jenkins.
Jenkins was a sophomore football player at Harrison when Burlsworth’s story turned from triumph to tragedy. In 1999, Burlsworth died in a car wreck.
But the hometown hero, who is still honored in Harrison today, had left his mark on the community.
“[Our football team] won state in 1999,” says Jenkins. “It was, ‘Do It Burl’s Way,’ that was our slogan that year.”
It’s a slogan that will reach a nationwide audience on Friday, when “Greater” is released in some 400 theaters.
Sherrell says while the feature film will have the “Holllywood” touch, Burlsworth’s story of overcoming the odds speaks for itself.
“If you’ve got a little doubt about what you can do,” he says, “this will help you.”
Following Burlsworth’s death a foundation was established in his name. For more information about the film, including the full movie trailer, click here.