DALLAS – Iowa State All-American running back David Montgomery is one of 20 semifinalists for the Jason Witten Collegiate Man of the Year Award, announced Thursday by Witten Award selection committee.
In its second year, the annual award is presented to the college football player who demonstrates a record of leadership, exhibiting exceptional courage, integrity and sportsmanship on and off the field.
Three finalists will be named for the award on Dec. 10 and the winner will be announced at the award ceremony on Feb. 12, 2019 at The Star in Frisco, Texas.
The award is named after Jason Witten and is the first college football honor to focus primarily on a player’s leadership, both on and off the field. Witten is one of the NFL’s greatest tight ends as a member of the Dallas Cowboys. Witten’s leadership abilities helped him earn the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award and the Humanitarian of the Year Award by Pro Football Weekly.
A native of Cincinnati, Ohio, David Montgomery has been instrumental in leading the Cyclones to unprecedented success on the field and being an exemplary citizen off the field.
Montgomery’s athletic achievements are elite. The 2017 All-American and First-Team All-Big 12 selection has picked up where he left off a year ago by ranking second in the Big 12 in rushing yards per game at 95.6, ranking 25th nationally.
He has four 100-yard rushing games, including a career-high 189 vs. West Virginia, and 10 catches for 54 yards. Montgomery leads the team in rushing touchdowns with six.
What sets Montgomery a part is his commitment to being a leader and mentor.
As Iowa State’s Big 12 Champions For Life recipient, Montgomery said, “I love football, but it doesn’t define me. If I’m not changing somebody else’s life for good, then what is my purpose?”
It is a motto the former Eagle Scout lives by each day, rallying his teammates to various community service opportunities and instigating a trip to Marshalltown in July when a devastating tornado ripped through the center of town.
Montgomery and the Cyclones spent a day helping the grieving citizens clean up and providing support where they could.
The 2018 co-captain beautifully showed how he could change someone’s life when he developed an incredible bond and relationship with Hunter Erb. Hunter is a 6-year-old who was born with multiple congenital heart defects. Doctors told his family that Hunter had less than a 3 percent chance of surviving his condition.
What started out as a visit to an ISU football practice, turned out to be a lifelong friendship between David and Hunter.
The friends talk or text daily, and when Hunter has to go to the hospital, David is there to visit to offer comfort, even it means driving 2 ½ hours to Iowa City.
Montgomery’s commitment to helping others has influenced his team. He was named co-captain for a reason.