Kentucky Wildcats star Josh Paschal was named the Jason Witten Collegiate Man of the Year award-winner on Thursday. He was selected among three finalists, including Grant Morgan of Arkansas and Patrick Fields of Oklahoma, who all demonstrated a record of leadership by exhibiting exceptional courage, integrity and sportsmanship both on and off the field.
Paschal, a five-year letter winner, played in 52 career games with 37 starts for the Wildcats, recording 139 career tackles, 37 tackles for loss, 13.5 sacks, 12 quarterback hurries, three forced fumbles and three blocked kicks. His 37 tackles for loss in his career is tied for the third-most in UK history.
The Maryland native became the only three-time full-season team captain in Kentucky football history, as he overcame cancer on his foot off the field to become one of the best defenders in college football.
Paschal was diagnosed with malignant melanoma on the bottom of his foot just before fall camp in 2018. After undergoing three surgeries and monthly immunotherapy treatments for more than a year, he was cleared to play in the final three games of UK’s historic 10-win season.
In 2021, Paschal led the team and ranked second in the SEC with 15.5 tackles for loss. He also had 53 tackles, 5.5 sacks, a team-high eight QB hurries, a forced fumble and a blocked field goal returned by Trevin Wallace for a touchdown.
Paschal then graduated in May of 2021 with a degree in family science and a minor in health promotion and earned second-team Academic All-America honors by the College Sports Information Directors of America.
The Jason Witten Collegiate Man of the Year 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.
Paschal will 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 14 years.