Tennessee junior offensive lineman Trey Smith is the winner of the 2020 Jason Witten Collegiate Man of the Year award. The Tuesday night presentation by Witten was at the Star in Frisco, the practice facility of the Dallas Cowboys.
The award is presented annually to the Division I college football player who has demonstrated leadership by exhibiting exceptional courage, integrity and sportsmanship on and off the field.
Smith was selected from a group of three finalists that included Air Force senior quarterback Isaiah Sanders and Southern California senior wide receiver Michael Pittman.
“It’s truly an honor to be recognized as the Jason Witten Collegiate Man of the Year, especially knowing what other great football leaders the other finalists are,” said Smith.
“It’s humbling and I’m so thankful for the continued support of my family, coaches and the University of Tennessee, who are always in my corner.”
Criteria for the award is intended to match the example set by Witten, former tight end for the Volunteers and Dallas Cowboys. He has been one of football’s most prominent role models during his 16-year pro career.
Witten will send a check for $10,000 to Tennessee’s athletic scholarship fund in honor of Smith. The contribution will come from the SCORE Foundation, the official charity of Jason and his wife, Michelle.
“It’s really cool that earning this award will also benefit the athletics department and the other student-athletes that are a part of the amazing Volunteers family,” Smith said. “It makes it even more special that Jason Witten is a VFL and set the standard for so many in terms of on-the-field and off-the-field leadership and community service.”
Smith mentioned his recent decision to return to the Vols for his senior season instead of departing early for the NFL.
“I’m glad to be continuing my journey in Knoxville. We have unfinished business on the field, but I’m also excited to still be involved with our community and help out and hopefully make an impact where I can.”
Smith was more emotional in his tweet to friends.
“God is good! He works in mysterious ways!”
See Marvin West’s previous story here.