/ Articles / Brady Olson nominated for Burlsworth Character Award

Brady Olson nominated for Burlsworth Character Award

April 17, 2020 by Brett LaBore

The Lakeland football team had success on the field this past fall. Not only was that due to talent, but also leadership. One player who exemplified that was Brady Olson.

Olson was nominated for the Burlsworth Character Award, an award given for excellence in leadership.

“It kind of puts in a new perspective what it means to be a leader and (have) good character,” Olson said. “(Brandon Burlsworth) really showed what he had and it feels good knowing that he can be honored in this way and (they) chose me as an outlet for that.”

Brandon Burlsworth came to the University of Arkansas without a scholarship and no Division 1 scholarship offers. After his hard work, he eventually became team captain, All-SEC 1997-1998 and even an All-American in 1998.

Burlsworth was drafted by the Colts with the 63rd overall pick in the 1999 NFL Draft. But just 11 days after the draft, he was tragically killed in a head-on automobile collision.

A two-time captain, Olson was chosen by LUHS head football coach Dan Barutha to be nominated for this award.

“Brady forms great relationships with people,” Barutha said. “Brady is very mild-mannered, easy going. Brady can work and get along with anybody across the whole personality spectrum.”

Joining other captains Michael Ouimette, Devan Tessmer and Dwight Miesbauer, Olson helped the Thunderbirds to their first playoff appearance since 2009 and a 6-4 record overall.

“A two-time team captain as junior and senior, (Olson) met all the demands and requirements a captain in our programs are required to meet,” Barutha said.

Olson played primarily center. In the little defense he did play, he recorded five total tackles, one tackle for loss and a sack.

A leader is someone who performs on and off the field. For Olson, it means getting everyone on the same page.

“For me it mostly means leading a team as one unit instead of separate, get people on the same wave length and same goals in mind,” he said.

Prior to becoming captain of the football team, Olson did the little things to try and be a leader for the team.

“Before I was captain of the football team, I always tried to lead by example, wasn’t very vocal,” he said. “Once I became football captain my junior year, I had to work to be more vocal for the whole team. I knew my job on the field and (wanted to) help convey other positions and help the team as a whole by making sure everybody was doing their job.”

Winning the games is always one of the top things coach Barutha wants to get out of his program. But he also wants to produce young men who are ready to be leaders in the world. That’s something Olson looks forward to doing.

“Learning to lead the football team will help me in the future to be who I need to be and help others,” Olson said. 

That character and personalties Olson possesses is what has helped him to become a two-time team captain. 

“Brady is a guy that players and people in general are naturally attracted to, (because of) the way he carries himself,” Barutha said. “That is on display any time you talk to him, a very, very humbled individual.”

The announcement of the national award winner will not happen until after the May 20 deadline. 

Brett LaBore may be reached at [email protected] or [email protected]

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