If you name an award after Jason Witten, you know it is big time.
The Cowboys have announced that All-Pro tight end’s name will be connected to the inaugural “Jason Witten Collegiate Man of the Year” award for college football leadership.
“The award will recognize the College Football Bowl Subdivision player who has demonstrated a record of leadership by exhibiting exceptional courage, integrity and sportsmanship both on and off the field,” according to a statement released by the Cowboys. “It will honor the type of exemplary character and commitment to community, family and teammates demonstrated by Jason Witten, the 10-time Pro Bowl tight end for the Dallas Cowboys and the 2012 NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year.”
Football programs will submit their nominees and three finalists will be selected in November. The winner will be announced by a panel of former players and coaches, as well as representatives of the college football media world in December. The presentation of the award will take place at the first “Jason Witten Collegiate Man of the Year Banquet” in February.
“I am proud to be associated with the Collegiate Man of the Year,” said Witten in the statement. “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 winner will also receive a $10-thousand contribution in his name to the school’s athletic scholarship fund. The contribution will be made by Witten’s SCORE Foundation.
"There is no more appropriate person in our sport—at any level--to have his name associated with an award that represents character, dignity, service to others and responsibility than Jason Witten,” said Charlotte Jones Anderson, Executive Vice President and Chief Brand Officer of the Dallas Cowboys. “This award will honor the standard that Jason has set for leadership, both on and off the field, and it will serve as an inspiration to football players for generations to come."
Albertsons and Tom Thumb, in a close partnership with Witten and his foundation over the last decade, will be the presenting sponsor of the award.
Witten played college ball at Tennessee, compiling 797 yards and seven touchdowns over 36 games. During his freshman season, he saw time as a defensive end before making the switch to tight end. The Cowboys drafted Witten in the third round of the 2003 NFL Draft.
Witten currently sits just 17 yards behind Hall of Fame wide receiver Michael Irvin’s franchise record for career receiving yards. He also needs to play in just two more games to set a new Cowboys record for games played. Witten also is just five catches behind Hall of Fame wide receiver Tim Brown for No. 6 in NFL history.
Witten signed a four-year contract extension with the Cowboys in March.