USFL Awards 2022: Stars' Matt Colburn is Sportsman of the Year
Philadelphia Stars running back Matthew Colburn is USFL's 2022 Sportsman of the Year.
Philadelphia Stars running back Matthew Colburn II was named the USFL's Sportsman of the Year on Friday.
The award recognizes the player who has best-exhibited excellence on the field and leadership to the community off the field. Colburn was informed of the honor by USFL President of Football Operations Brian Woods while players from the four playoff teams were touring the Pro Football Hall of Fame ahead of Saturday’s game.
"To be in Canton at the Hall of Fame and to be playing for a shot to win the USFL Championship is a dream come true," Colburn said. "We saw the busts of Walter Payton and so many others who are not only legends for how they played, they also made a difference in people's lives — that’s what I aspire to. For me personally, helping kids is important, so I was able to participate in USFL-sponsored events that served our neighbors around the Birmingham region. I’m proud to be part of a league that emphasizes community outreach and I’m honored to be named USFL Sportsman of the Year."
With training camp and all regular-season games played in Birmingham, Alabama, Colburn led several volunteer opportunities organized by the USFL. He worked with more than 250 kids at a Youth Football Skills Clinic to help develop the leaders of tomorrow. He visited two elementary schools where he read to students and shared encouraging messages. Most recently, Colburn attended a "fishing rodeo" where he played football with kids and their families.
"I am the eldest of six, so I am motivated to be the best role model and big brother that I can to my little brothers and baby sister," said Colburn. "That same motivation applies when I am out in the community helping kids.
"There’s always an eye in the sky, always someone watching you, always someone looking up to you," he continued. "I remember when I was a kid and how much it meant to me when football players would spend time with me and my peers. I believe it is my duty to give back, not as an obligation but rather the understanding that I too was once that little kid who cherished when athletes would volunteer their time to be with us. Every kid deserves that and I want to show them as if they were one of my siblings."
Matt Colburn breaks off a 51-yard TD
On the field, Colburn was arguably the best second-half player in the USFL. In Weeks 6 through 10, he had more than 400 rushing yards and 100 receiving yards. He also scored eight touchdowns. His outstanding play helped propel the Stars to a 4-1 second-half record and secured a playoff berth to Canton.
"Matt leads by example in everything he does," Philadelphia Stars coach Bart Andrus said. "Even though he was sidelined by an injury early in the season, he battled through it, came back to our starting lineup, and has been one of the best players in the USFL. He’s always willing to take Show-Team reps in practice for our defense, something that speaks to his unselfish brand of leadership. On or off the field, Matt's actions define him as a generous man of determination and commitment. He's earned this recognition and I’m proud to have him on our team."
Andrus, Colburn, and the Philadelphia Stars (6-4) will be at Canton’s Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium on Saturday, where they will battle the New Jersey Generals (9-1) in the North Division final starting at 3 p.m. ET on FOX.
Game 2 will feature the South Division Final, as the Birmingham Stallions (9-1) face the New Orleans Breakers (6-4) at 8 p.m. ET on NBC. The winners will remain in Canton to compete in the USFL Championship Game on July 3 at 7:30 p.m. ET on FOX.
Other USFL 2022 awards:
— Most Valuable Player: KaVontae Turpin, Generals
— Offensive Player of the Year: Darius Victor, Generals
— Defensive Player of the Year: Chris Odom, Gamblers
— Coach of the Year: Mike Riley, Generals