NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Vanderbilt senior linebacker Andre Mintze was announced as one of 20 semifinalists for the fourth annual Jason Witten Collegiate Man of the Year Award.
Compiled by a group of the award’s selection committee members, the semifinalists have demonstrated leadership by exhibiting exceptional courage, integrity and sportsmanship on and off the field.
Last week, Mintze was tabbed as one of 30 candidates for the Senior CLASS Award.
Mintze has played in 38 career games for the Commodores, making 14 starts. He has totaled 60 tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks, five quarterback pressures and two forced fumbles. Mintze has been a team captain the last two years.
During the 2019 season, Mintze booked a career-high 40 tackles with 7.5 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks. He tallied a season-high six tackles against UNLV and Missouri and registered a personal-best 2.0 sacks at Ole Miss.
His 2.0 tackles for loss against Missouri in 2019 helped the Commodores to a 21-14 victory against the nationally-ranked Tigers.
Mintze earned 10 tackles in 2018 and started his first game against Tennessee State. He recorded his first collegiate sack in the Texas Bowl against Baylor to end the campaign. During his first season on the field, in 2017, Mintze played in 11 games and made five tackles.
In December, Mintze earned his degree as a double major in cinema and media arts and medicine, health and society. He is pursuing his master’s degree in medicine, health and society.
During his time in Nashville, Mintze has given back to the Vanderbilt community primarily through his annual Dancing Dores philanthropy program, a partnership between Dance Marathon, which is an organization that raises funds for the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt and Vanderbilt’s Athletic Department. All revenue generated goes to the hospital.
Three finalists will be named for the award Dec. 16. The winner will be announced at the award ceremony Feb. 16.
Last year, Tennessee’s Trey Smith won the award. The first two Jason Witten Collegiate Man of the Year awards were presented to Shaquem Griffin of UCF in 2017 and D’Cota Dixon of Wisconsin in 2018.
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 Jason Witten who, in addition to becoming one of the best tight ends in the history of the sport, has served as one of football’s most prominent role models during his 16-year pro career.
In addition to winning the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award in 2012, Witten 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.
“It’s my honor to announce this impressive group of student-athletes as semifinalists for the fourth annual Collegiate Man of the Year,” Witten said. “With all of the challenges this year has given us, these young men are shining examples of what makes college football great. They have demonstrated exceptional character and leadership, often while facing large challenges. They are great representatives for the game of football and I commend all nominees for getting to this point.”
The winner of the Jason Witten Collegiate Man of the Year 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 13 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.
Jason Witten Collegiate Man of the Year Award Semifinalists
Nick Bolton, Missouri
Mike Caliendo, Western Michigan
Michael Carter II, Duke
Harry Crider, Indiana
Spencer Eason-Riddle, South Carolina
Sam Ehlinger, Texas
Lawson Hall, Nevada
Najee Harris, Alabama
Daelin Hayes, Notre Dame
Elijah Hicks, California
Talanoa Hufanga, Southern California
Kingsley Jonathan, Syracuse
Cameron Kinley, Navy
Andre Mintze, Vanderbilt
Elijah Molden, Washington
Kellen Mond, Texas A&M
Joshua Paschal, Kentucky
Adam Shibley, Michigan
Skylar Thompson, Kansas State
Amadeo West, Army