The college football-themed film “GREATER”, which debuts in movie theatres on Friday, August 26, has eight former Tulsa Golden Hurricane football student-athletes making appearances.
The former TU players recruited to play “real players” in the film included: H-back Michael Britton, quarterback Malachi Blankenship, defensive end Cory Dorris, defensive tackles Daeshon Bufford and Derrick Jackson, offensive linemen Brian DeShane and Trent Dupy and linebacker DeAundre Brown. The right leg of former Tulsa kicker Cory Jefferis also makes an appearance in the film.
“GREATER” tells the story of Brandon Burlsworth, who many consider to be the greatest walk-on in college football history. Burlsworth walked on at Arkansas and was essentially told that he was likely not good enough to get the opportunity to play for the Razorbacks.
Through incredible hard work and perseverance, Burlsworth not only eventually played at Arkansas (1995-98), he became an All-American and a two-time All-SEC selection. He was then a high draft choice of Indianapolis Colts, but died tragically in an automobile accident 11 days after the 1999 draft.
Burlsworth did participate in the Colts’ post-draft mini-camp after which then-Colts president Bill Polian and then-Colts offensive line coach Howard Mudd proclaimed that Burlsworth would be the team’s starter at guard on opening day, and that they expected him to be a fixture on the Colts’ offensive line for the next 10-15 years.
Former Tulsa offensive lineman Brian DeShane (2009-12), who played an offensive lineman in the movie, stated “it was definitely like nothing I had ever done before.”
“I was on the football stunt group. We had plays we’d rehearse the week of, and then we’d film the shots they needed,” said DeShane. “It was a fun experience. It’s a football movie with a story behind it. ”
DeShane, who drove to Arkansas the day after his graduation from TU and a day later auditioned for the part by doing position and footwork drills, did not know much about Burlsworth beforehand, and neither did his fellow participating teammates.
“I heard of the Burlsworth Award for the nation’s top walk-on before, but I didn’t really know the story of Brandon Burlsworth,” said DeShane. “They told us his story when we got there, and some of us did our own research about Brandon. The impact he had on the people around him was the biggest thing I think that people will take away from the movie. He was one of the nicest people you’d ever want to meet. It’s horrible how he passed, but it’s such a great story about a great person.”
“We had a chance to watch a lot of tape on Brandon, and all the work he put in really paid off because he was such a good player,” added DeShane.
The many football scenes were shot at Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville, Arkansas, and at Memorial Stadium in Little Rock.
In the video below, Quinton Aaron of “The Blindside” talks “Greater” and the faith and character of Brandon Burlsworthdium in Little Rock.
The movie can be viewed beginning August 26, in Tulsa, at Southroads 20 Theatre at 41st and Yale Avenue and Tulsa Starworld 20, located at 101st and Memorial.