St. Thomas' Burke Named a Doris Robinson Award Finalist

Wednesday, November 22, 2023
by Courtesy St. Thomas Athletics Communications

SAINT PAUL, MINN.– The 2023 season is officially over for the University of St. Thomas football team, but the postseason award announcements are only just beginning. Three days after the season ended, the Tommies continued to make headlines, as sophomore Will Burke was announced as a finalist and Pioneer Football League (PFL) nominee for the 2023 FedEx Ground Doris Robinson Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award, the FCS announced Wednesday morning.
Burke, a sophomore tight end for St. Thomas, was one of 15 finalists for the award representing one of the 15 conferences in FCS football. Named after the late schoolteacher and wife of Grambling State coach Eddie Robinson, the award is annually presented to an FCS student-athlete who not only excels on the playing field and in the classroom, but in the community and beyond.
Burke earned the PFL nomination after doing just that. A biology major, Burke maintained a 3.76 grade point average (GPA) during the 2022 academic year and holds a cumulative GPA over 3.50 during his three years at St. Thomas. His work ethic and excellence extends far beyond the classroom, as Burke was a volunteer with countless organizations during his time with the Tommies.
 "Will is known for his consistency and toughness on the field," commented head football coach Glenn Caruso. "His unselfish, team-first attitude makes him one of our leaders. His work ethic is outstanding, both in the classroom, on the field and in the locker room, on our campus and in the community. He's a humble and considerate man who learned valuable lessons through his family church and prior success and built on those strengths at St. Thomas." 

Burke's resume is long and impressive when it comes to community engagement and volunteering. The redshirt sophomore is a member of the Tommie Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) and has volunteered with the Dorothy Day Homeless Shelter in Downtown St. Paul since 2016. As a member of the St. Thomas football team, Burke is heavily involved in the team's Up Til Dawn fundraiser, which has raised over $100,000 for the St. Jude's Children's Hospital and is a member of the UST Shelter Crew. In the summer of 2022, Burke was a member of the Vida Volunteer Trip to Costa Rica, where he provided medical care and service for impoverished communities in the country. Currently, Burke serves as the Vice President and Ambassador for Special Olympics Minnesota and volunteers with both the Regions Hospital and Highland Friendship Club in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Caruso continued, "One of the best parts of my job is seeing men like Will represent themselves, their families and their team so well by being good students, good citizens and good role models."

The recipient of the Doris Robinson Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award will be announced in mid-December and honored at the FCS National Awards Banquette the night before the national championship game. The banquet will also present the Walter Payton Award (FCS Offensive Player of the Year), Buck Buchanan Award (FCS Defensive Player of the Year), Jerry Rice Award (FCS Freshman Player of the Year) and Eddie Robinson Award (FCS Coach of the Year).