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Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Football

Cougar nominated for top walk-on award


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Junior running back Dillon Birden, left, has made his presence felt on offense, defense and special teams this season. | Ajani Stewart/The Cougar

Now halfway through his first season at UH, one member of the football team has the chance to be the first Cougar to win a top award reserved for players who began their careers without a scholarship.

Junior running back Dillon Birden has been added to the Burlsworth Trophy watch list, which is awarded to the nation’s top performing walk-on player each year. After spending two season at Blinn College, he has found a home at UH and is thriving on the football field.

Birden has been a jack-of-all-trades for the Cougars this season, taking reps on offense, defense and special teams.

Providing depth for the running back position, Birden performed admirably in the absence of running back Duke Catalon, who has missed multiple games due to a concussion.

The Houston native first stepped on the scene on Sept. 10, when he forced and recovered a fumble against the Lamar University Cardinals.

He is currently third on the team in total rushing yards with 266 and leads all Cougars with at least 50 rushing attempts in yards per carry at 4.8. Birden is also a force with the ball as the six rushing touchdowns he has ammased in 2016 can attest.

The junior has also recorded six catches for 47 yards and a score.

Birden had a breakout game on Oct. 15 against the University of Tulsa Golden Hurricane when he rushed for a career-high 82 yards and three touchdowns.

If Birden is able to win the award, he would join the likes of University of Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield, former East Carolina receiver Justin Hardy and former Penn State quarterback Matt McGloin.

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