“Greater” Movie Cements Brandon Burlsworth’s Legacy On Screen

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FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM) -- Brandon Burlsworth is remembered as one of the greatest walk-ons in college football history and now his legacy is the subject of the movie "Greater," which premiered Tuesday (Aug. 23) at Malco Razorback Theater in Fayetteville.

"Greater" tells the story of Burlsworth's journey from unlikely University of Arkansas walk-on to 1998 All-American.

Producer Brian Reindl was a Fayetteville-based real estate investor before taking on the movie 11 years ago.

"The good test of a good story is when you tell people what the movie is gonna be about, and nobody says 'I don't know if that's a movie'," Reindl said.

"Without Brian and [director] David [Hunt] there together, somebody who knew Brandon and knew the family, I don't think the story would have came out as well as it did," said lead actor Chris Severio, who portrays Burlsworth in the movie.

Severio, who didn't follow football before taking on the role, said "Greater" can make a big impact.

"You know there's "Rudy," there's "Blindside" and there's "Greater." I think, what the title says, is "Greater." I think this could be the top of the line. You know, there on the top of the list," Severio said.

Burlsworth was twice named first-team All-SEC (1997 and 1998) and is one of two numbers ever retired by the Razorbacks. The 22-year-old was selected in the third round of the 1999 NFL draft by the Indianapolis Colts before he was tragically killed in a car crash just 11 days after he was drafted.

Starting in 2010, Burlsworth was further immortalized. Each season, the Burlsworth Trophy is awarded to college football's most outstanding player that began as a walk-on. The most recent recipient was Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield.

Some who attended the premiere event said the film should inspire others to be greater.

"[The film proves] it doesn’t matter where you come from, what your background or race or color is. A dream can be achieved no matter what," Elaine Brumley said.

One local Razorbacks fan said she was inspired by the film and was interested to see what the University of Arkansas was like before her time.

"I think it is super cool because I am interested in going to the U of A," Hannah Olson said. "So looking at this and seeing the dynamic of the people there is really interesting."

The movie opens in select theaters across the country Friday (Aug. 26).