Former Texas Longhorns quarterback Sam Ehlinger as named the Jason Witten Collegiate Man of the Year. The event took place via a virtual ceremony on Tuesday night. Ehlinger beat out other finalists in Alabama RB Najee Harris and DL Daelin Hayes of Notre Dame.
“I was very surprised,” Ehlinger said. “Growing up and seeing (Jason) on TV, it was crazy to see him in person, and I was taken aback and surprised and just honored. It was an incredible experience just to receive the trophy and be in his presence, honestly.“
According to how the winner is selected by the Board of Directors, the finalists were recognized for demonstrating an outstanding record of leadership by exhibiting exceptional courage, integrity and sportsmanship.
Ehlinger is the fourth winner of the Jason Witten Collegiate Man of the Year award, which was won by UCF’s Shaquem Griffin in 2017. Then, Wisconsin’s D’Cota Dixon earned the honor in 2018, and Tennessee’s Trey Smith won it in 2019.
Ehlinger went on to say, “It’s incredible, growing up, especially living in Texas, watching the Cowboys and watching Jason play, my parents were always like, ‘That’s who you need to model yourself off of on the field and off the field, because he does it right in all the ways.’ He has all the glory, everybody loves him, but what’s most important is the man that he is off the field – his faith, his family, the way he carries himself as a man with high class. That means so much to be able to represent this award with his name associated to it. It’s truly an honor, and I feel so blessed.”
Ehlinger’s on-field success is well noted, like being one of only three players in FBS history to throw for at least 11,000 career yards and rush for more than 1,500 yards. However, off the field, Ehlinger is graduated the McCombs School of Business at UT and is a two-time Academic All-Big 12 First Team honoree, plus he made the Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor Roll six times.
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