Jason Witten 'Collegiate Man of The Year' Finalists Named

Mike Fisher

FRISCO - The third annual Jason Witten "Collegiate Man of the Year'' award will be presented at a ceremony at The Star in Frisco on Tuesday night, this year's program - led of course by Dallas Cowboys star Jason Witten - by a trio of honorees.

The three finalists for the award are Isaiah Sanders from Air Force, Trey Smith from Tennessee and Michael Pittman, Jr., from USC, and then will all be honored at the event.

Isaiah Sanders, Air Force (Sr., QB) – Quarterback at Air Force, where he is also his team’s community service representative and the cadet-in-charge of the academy’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes chapter. Sanders has worked closely with Undivided, a non-profit focused on strengthening communities, and he was recently named to the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team and as a finalist for the Wuerffel Trophy for his work in the community. In the classroom, Sanders has a 3.86 GPA and currently operates as his squadron’s flight officer.

Trey Smith, Tennessee (Jr., OL) – One of the most dominant linemen in football and a 2019 first-team All-SEC honoree, Smith was a Freshman All-American who had to fight his way back on the field after being diagnosed with blood clots in his lungs before the start of his sophomore season. His return to the field and excellent play this season has been an inspiration to his team. A member of the 2018 SEC Community Service Team and a Wuerffel Trophy nominee, Smith spearheaded a coat drive for the Knoxville Area Rescue Ministry and was selected as a member of the 2018 VOLeaders Class, a group of leaders chosen across all sports at Tennessee.

Michael Pittman, Sr., USC (Sr., WR) – Having accumulated more than 2,000 receiving yards in his career with the Trojans, Pittman was recently named first-team All-PAC 12. He has overcome his struggles with stuttering to become a team captain and leader of the USC football program. He uses this struggle as a platform to promote reading skills to elementary students. Pittman, a Biletnikoff Award finalist, volunteers countless hours to a wide variety of organizations, and he also sponsors a child in Indonesia through Compassion International.

The Jason Witten Collegiate Man of the Year award is the first college football honor to focus primarily on a player’s leadership, both on and off the field. Leadership, the program notes, "is a term synonymous with Jason Witten, who, in addition to becoming one of the best tight ends in the history of the sport and the Cowboys’ all-time leading receiver, has served as one of football’s most prominent role models during his 16-year pro career.

Witten is a free agent contemplating his football future but remains devoted to causes like this. Indeed, the winner of the Jason Witten Collegiate Man of the Year will also receive a $10,000 contribution in his name to his school’s athletic scholarship fund. The contribution will be made by Jason Witten’s SCORE Foundation, the official charity of Jason and his wife Michelle. The SCORE Foundation, founded in 2007, has positively impacted tens of thousands of children and families in Texas and Tennessee over the last 12 years.