UT Sports Information
FRISCO, Texas – Tennessee junior offensive lineman Trey Smith was named the 2020 Jason Witten Collegiate Man of the Year by a subset of the award’s Board of Directors on Tuesday night at the Star in Frisco, the practice facility of the Dallas Cowboys.
The Jason Witten Collegiate Man of the Year Award is presented annually to the Division I college football player who has demonstrated a record of leadership by exhibiting exceptional courage, integrity and sportsmanship both 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, who was accompanied by his sister Ashley Smith, UT athletics director Phillip Fulmer, Vols head coach Jeremy Pruitt and other members of the football staff. “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.”
The award, presented by Albertsons and Tom Thumb, is the first college football honor to focus primarily on a player’s leadership, both on and off the field. Leadership is a term synonymous with Tennessee alum 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.
In addition to the award, Smith 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.
“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 started 12 games at left guard in 2019 en route to All-SEC First Team honors from the coaches and media. He was named SEC Offensive Lineman of the Week twice this fall. After missing the final five games of the 2018 season and a comeback to football questionable due to complications stemming from blood clots, Smith returned to his dominant ways and spearheaded Tennessee’s six-game win streak to end the season. SEC Network analyst and offensive line expert Cole Cubelic named Smith to his All-America First Team.
“I’m glad to be continuing my journey in Knoxville,” the 6-6 lineman said. “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.”
The Jackson, Tenn., native continued his commitment to the community even during a busy football season. Smith is an active speaker to youth groups, elementary schools and organizations across the state and led coat drives for Knoxville Area Rescue Ministry (KARM) during the 2018 and 2019 seasons where over 1,000 coats were donated each year because of his efforts.
During Superbowl LIV week, Smith was also awarded with the Fritz Pollard Trophy at the 15th annual Johnnie L. Cochran Foundation Jr. Salute to Excellence Awards, hosted by the Fritz Pollard Alliance in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The Fritz Pollard Trophy honors a college player who has exemplified extraordinary courage, community values, and exceptional performance on the field.
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