The Jason Witten Collegiate Man of the Year award rewards players who demonstrate excellence both on and off the field, similarly to the Walter Payton NFL equivalent.
Though Kenneth Murray is not one of this year’s finalists (he was in 2017, the inaugural year of the award), it may only be because he was too humble to admit an amazing act of courage and leadership, which he shared with the media at the 2020 Scouting Combine.
“That’s another unique story… just happened to be at the right place at the right time,” Murray said. “Coming home from church with my girlfriend, I happened to just come by a situation [where] somebody just needed my help.
The 2019 first team All-Big 12 linebacker continued to share how a car ran a red light in front of him, then stopped suddenly in the middle of the road.
“A lady [got] out of the car and just [ran] immediately over to the sidewalk area,” Murray said. “As I [pulled] up a little more, I could see on the sidewalk the was another lady laid out on the ground.”
Murray immediately parked his car in the middle of the street and ran over to the two women in order to evaluate the situation. He says he saw one of them laying on the ground, unconscious, with blood streaming from her head, while the other frantically screamed and yelled in a desperate attempt to wake up the bleeding female.
“That’s when I immediately started CPR,” Murray said. “[I] got between 70 to 80 pumps in and that’s when I finally got her revived, got her back to breathing.
“This whole situation is kind of funny because I intended for this not to get out to the media when it happened. I did what I did, got the lady back to breathing and then I immediately tried to leave and get out of there.”
Depending on how you look at it, luck was or wasn’t on his side: he had indeed been seen. Oklahoma assistant athletic director Mike Houck came up to the 6’2” defender in the locker room a couple days later and asked Murray, much to his surprise, if he had given a woman CPR the other day. Houck then informed him of a student with the school newspaper who happened to be driving by and saw the scene unfold, recognizing the big-bodied linebacker and taking note of the story.
Murray isn’t mad that his heroic escapade was seen by others: he just didn’t intend to get a lot of attention for what was truly an incredible deed.
“[It was] just a blessing to be in the right place at the right time [and] to be able to help somebody in need,” Murray said.
Along with his 2019 accolades, Murray was the 2017 Big 12 Defensive Freshman of the Year and placed on the second team All-Big 12 as a sophomore. He has impressed so far at the combine, not only due to his “impressive measurables” but also because of his act of courage that has now come to attention, whether or not he wanted it to.