Each week we will feature a college football player who is either a member or an officer in a Uplifting Athletes Chapter for our Beyond the Trophy series.
College: University of Nebraska
Height, weight, class, position: 6-3, 195 pounds, redshirt sophomore, wide receiver
High School: Elmwood-Murdock High School, Murdock, Nebraska
About Sam Burtch: A walk-on at Nebraska after a standout high school football and track career, the president of the Uplifting Athletes chapter saw limited action a year ago as a redshirt freshman but did not have a reception. This season he has become part of a deep receiver rotation and not only registered his first catch for the Huskers, but also recorded his first touchdown catch against Southern Mississippi. A four-time member of the Nebraska Scholar-Athlete Honor Roll, Burtch was also named Academic All Big Ten in 2012.
As a player, what is your favorite part of game day you get to experience at your home stadium?
Burtch: Coming out of the tunnel walk, seeing all the fans and behind overwhelmed by red.
What is your most memorable experience as a college football player?
Burtch: When Jordan Westerkamp caught a Hail Mary touchdown pass to beat Northwestern, and I was able to celebrate with my teammates on the field.
What drove you to get involved with Uplifting Athletes, and what if anything has this experience done for you?
Burtch: Seeing the impact that we have as football players to use that influence for good. This experience has definitely humbled me and encouraged me to help those in need.
What is the toughest team you’ve faced or regularly play and what makes them so difficult?
Burtch: The last two years we’ve played UCLA and they have been very talented. I would say their ability to utilize both the running and passing game makes them difficult.
What is your chosen major, and what if anything have you used from that major as a contribution to your Uplifting Athletes Chapter?
Burtch: I’m majoring in communications with the intent of becoming a football coach after graduation. Certainly Uplifting Athletes has helped encourage my public speaking, organization, and leadership that will be required as a football coach.
In your words, what are some of the things you are looking for in life after football?
Burtch: I’m looking forward to coaching and developing championship football teams as well as having a family.
Besides one of your teammates, name a college football player you enjoy watching?
Burtch: Johnny Manziel is easily the most exciting player to watch because he’s so good at improvising and his composure is impressive.
Who is your favorite NFL player and why?
Burtch: I’m not a big NFL guy, but I enjoy watching Tom Brady because he is so competitive and is successful.
What was or is the inspiration for the Rare Disease your Uplifting Athletes Chapter is raising money for to be part of the fight?
Burtch: Jack Hoffman, who suffers from pediatric brain cancer, is the inspiration for the Nebraska Chapter.
What is your favorite road stadium to play in and why?
Burtch: Michigan’s stadium was impressive, but I really like Penn State’s stadium and am looking forward to playing there on November 23.