The 2017-18 college football season has a new award, and it’s possibly my favorite of all the postseason awards. In December, one College Football Bowl Subdivision player will be announced as the first annual winner of the Jason Witten Collegiate Man of the Year Award.
The award will go to the individual “who has demonstrated a record of leadership by exhibiting exceptional courage, integrity and sportsmanship both on and off the field,” as well as someone who demonstrates “the type of exemplary character and commitment to community, family and teammates demonstrated by Jason Witten.”
Witten has been one of the most community-active players in the NFL since being drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in 2003, winning the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award in 2012. Before the NFL, the tight end from Elizabethton, Tenn., played three seasons at Tennessee, setting the school record for receptions in a season by a tight end (39 in 2003) and catching 68 career passes for 797 yards.
“I am proud to be associated with the Collegiate Man of the Year,” said Witten. “It is my hope that this honor will encourage and inspire the next generation of student-athletes to not only perform at a high level on the field, but to use the platform to make a positive impact on campus and in the community.”
The award winner will receive a $10,000 contribution in his name to his school’s athletic scholarship fund. That contribution will be made by Jason Witten’s SCORE fun, he and his wife’s personal charity.
Witten was coached by former UT coach Phillip Fulmer, who had this to say about the new award:
“Jason Witten is the perfect man, player, leader, and roll model to have his name on this award. Jason has achieved, overcome, worked, and led at the highest level of collegiate and professional football; all the while maintaining his integrity, passion, compassion, and character as a husband, father, and community leader. I am proud of Jason as he continues to represent UT, The Dallas Cowboys, and all that is good in sports on a daily basis.”
Schools’ own sports information directors send in their nominees, and here’s the nominee and awards schedule:
Semifinalists announced October 31, three finalists announced November 14 and the winner announced in the first week of December. The awards banquet will take place in February.
Go here for more information on the award. Well-deserved and nice gesture towards a VFL and great man.