Minnesota redshirt senior offensive lineman Axel Ruschmeyer has been announced as a nominee for the 2022 Burlsworth Trophy, given annually to the top college football player who began his career as a walk-on.
Ruschmeyer, who started his career as a walk-on before receiving a scholarship in 2019, has started every game this season for the Golden Gophers at left guard. A versatile lineman, Ruschmeyer has made 17 starts in his career with 14 at left guard and three as an extra lineman during the 2021 campaign.
Minnesota’s offensive line, which has used the same five starters in all eight games this season and is up for the Joe Moore Award, has given up just seven sacks in eight games, tied for sixth in the country in fewest sacks allowed. The rate of 0.88 sacks allowed per game is tied for seventh. Minnesota has had four games this year with zero sacks allowed and has not given up more than two sacks in any contest.
The Gophers are also tied for 19th with 32 tackles for loss given up this year. Those 31 TFLs have resulted in a loss of 93 yards, the fifth fewest yielded this year.
On the ground, Minnesota’s rushing attack ranks 12th in the country and second in the Big Ten by averaging 222.8 yards per game. Playing behind Ruschmeyer and the line, Mohamed Ibrahim has rushed 170 times in seven games for 955 yards (5.6 average) and 13 touchdowns. Ibrahim is third in the nation in rushing touchdowns (13, 2nd in B1G), fourth in rushing yards per game (136.4, 2nd, fifth in total TDs (13, 2nd) and ninth in all-purpose yards per game (142.6, 3rd), total rush yards (955, 3rd).
The Burlsworth Trophy award ceremony to honor the three finalists and announce the 2022 winner will be held Dec. 5 at 7:00 p.m. at Crystal Bridges Museum in Bentonville, Arkansas.
(Info and photo courtesy of Gopher Sports)