UCF star Shaquem Griffin has been named the inaugural Jason Witten Collegiate Man of the Year. Griffin was honored Thursday night with the award that recognizes exemplary leadership on and off the field.
The other two finalists for the award were Alabama defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick and Oklahoma State quarterback Mason Rudolph.
“I am truly honored to present the inaugural Collegiate Man of the Year award to Shaquem Griffin,” Witten said. “Shaquem embodies everything that is great about college football and everything that makes a great leader. He has obviously overcome a lot of adversity to accomplish all that he has, and the fact that he gives so much of himself to the community makes him even more impressive.”
Griffin is a two-time All-American Athletic Conference first team selection. He was a unanimous selection in 2017 and was the conference’s defensive player of the year in 2017. Griffin was the Defensive MVP of the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl and was also named a Second-Team All-America performer by the AFCA following the 2017 season.
In addition to the Collegiate Man of the Year Award, Griffin has also been honored as the Senior CLASS Award winner for NCAA FBS football. He also received the 2018 Rare Disease Champion Award from Uplifting Athletes.
The inaugural Jason Witten Collegiate Man of the Year, 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 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 15-year pro career. In addition to winning the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award in 2012, Witten has also received the Bart Starr Award, Pro Football Weekly’s Humanitarian of the Year Award, Home Depot NFL Neighborhood MVP and the Bob Lilly Award, among many others. All of those honors have recognized his work in the community, achievements on the field and dedication to his teammates and family.
As winner of the Jason Witten Collegiate Man of the Year, Griffin 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 10 years. The foundation operates its nationally-recognized SCOREkeepers program, which places trained male mentors on staff to work with children at family violence shelters, at nine shelters in the two states. SCORE has also operated a weekend food backpack program for disadvantaged children in North Texas, opened Jason Witten Learning Centers in five different Boys & Girls Clubs and opened the Jason and Michelle Witten Emergency Waiting Room at the Niswonger Children’s Hospital in Johnson City, Tenn.