Iowa State All-American running back David Montgomery is this year’s (2018-19) recipient of the Big 12 Male Sportsperson of the Year Award.
The Big 12 started the award in 2000-01 to recognize student-athletes who displayed an extraordinary degree of sportsmanship and/or community service within the conference. Honorees are selected by a media panel.
Montgomery is just the second Cyclone (male or female) to receive the award. Four-time national champion wrestler Cael Sanderson was honored in 2001-02.
Montgomery is one of the greatest football players in Iowa State history. His efforts on the field helped the Cyclones turn the corner, but it was Montgomery’s leadership and willingness to assist others that cemented his legacy in Ames.
“The impact David had on the Iowa State football program, the University and to our great community is impossible to quantify,” Iowa State head coach Matt Campbell said. “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.”
Changing the culture wasn’t easy. Passing on the temptations of social life in college, Montgomery led the charge with his teammates to build a program through hard work and extra effort.
His leadership skills didn’t go unnoticed when he was tabbed as a captain for the 2018 season. The Cincinnati, Ohio native was a Big 12 Champions For Life participant and was a semifinalist for the Jason Witten Man of the Year Award, given annually to college football’s top player who displays exemplary character.
Montgomery’s eagerness to help others was captured in his relationship with Hunter Erb. Hunter, a 6-year-old, suffers from pulmonary vein stenosis. Montgomery took Hunter on his wing and made weekly visits, invited him to practices and never missed a hospital visit.
“I need to be a part of this little boy’s life,” Montgomery said humbly.
Montgomery was a beacon of light in Hunter’s life, but he was also one of the most active Cyclones in community service throughout his career. Montgomery participated in hospital visits, elementary read-a-thons and numerous civic activities.
One of Montgomery’s special moments as a leader for the Cyclones occurred in the summer of 2018. A strong tornado ripped through the town of Marshalltown, a city 45 miles east of Ames. Montgomery gathered his teammates, met with the coaching staff, and suggested the team drive to Marshalltown to help with clean up.
Montgomery was also an exemplary student throughout his career at Iowa State and was on track to graduate. He was a Second-Team Academic All-Big 12 pick and a member of the Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor Roll in 2018.
The two-time All-American, who rushed for over 1,000 yards the last two seasons, ranked third in the Big 12 and 23rd nationally in rushing yards per game (101.3) in 2018, recording seven 100-yard rushing games to tie for third on ISU’s season list.
Montgomery, who became the fourth player in school history to earn All-America honors multiple times, ended his outstanding Cyclone career sixth in career rushing (2,925) and eighth in career rushing touchdowns (26) in the ISU record book.
His toughness, durability and ability to shake off tackles made him one of the top running backs in the class. Montgomery led the nation in forced missed tackles according to Pro Football Focus in both 2017 (109) and 2018 (100).
The Chicago Bears made Montgomery their top pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, selecting him as the 73rdchoice in the draft.
Montgomery recently signed a contract and will head into the Bears training camp in July as one of the team’s top running backs.