Bears rookie running back David Montgomery, a third-round draft pick from Iowa State, has been named the Big 12 Male Sportsperson of the Year.
Winners of the award are chosen based on athletic performance, academic achievement and citizenship. The honor was created in 2000 to recognize student-athletes who display an extraordinary degree of sportsmanship and/or community service. Award winners are selected by a media panel.
Montgomery starred on and off the field at Iowa State. He played in 37 games the past three seasons, rushing for 2,925 yards and 26 touchdowns on 624 carries and catching 71 passes for 582 yards. Last year the Cincinnati native appeared in 12 games, rushing for a career-high 1,216 yards and 13 TDs on 257 attempts and catching 22 passes for 157 yards.
Montgomery helped change the football culture at Iowa State, serving as a captain who urged teammates to join him for late-night film sessions.
“The impact David had on the Iowa State football program, the university and to our great community is impossible to quantify,” Iowa State coach Matt Campbell told the school’s website. “He will undoubtedly be remembered as one of the all-time greats to wear the Cardinal and Gold, but his legacy will extend far beyond the field. He truly led the culture change within our walls.”
Off the field, Montgomery regularly visited children in hospitals and participated in elementary read-a-thons and other community events. He was selected as one of 20 semifinalists for the Jason Witten Collegiate Man of the Year Award, which is presented to the Division I college football player who has most demonstrated leadership by exhibiting exceptional courage, integrity and sportsmanship both on and off the field.
At Iowa State, Montgomery befriended a 6-year-old boy named Erb Hunter who suffers from pulmonary vein stenosis, a heart condition. The boy was invited to a Cyclones practice and given the opportunity to run for a touchdown with Montgomery as his lead blocker.
Last summer the running back also helped organize a team trip to Marshalltown—a city that’s 45 miles east of Ames—to clean up damage caused by a devastating tornado.