Dylan Meier - GBL Player of the Year Finalists

Photos courtesy of Matt Gilmore, PrepsKC, Andy Taylor (Montgomery Co. Chronicle), & Laura Schwinn
By: Mark Schremmer for Kpreps.com
Feb 4, 2013

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Kpreps is proud to announce the finalists for the 2012 Get Busy Livin' - Kpreps Player of the Year Award promoting The Dylan Meier Foundation.

The award is in honor of Dylan Meier, a former All-State quarterback at Pittsburg High School and starter at Kansas State University who died in a hiking accident at the age of 26.

The annual award will go to one Kansas senior who not only has shown excellence on the field but has also demonstrated the values that Dylan embodied and Get Busy Livin' (GBL) strives to promote: adventure, fitness, curiosity, generosity and a daily zest for life experiences.

Players from around the state were nominated. The nominees were then pared down to 30 before the GBL committee narrowed the list of candidates to six.

“The award is very special to us, and we were very pleased with how well it was received last year,” Kpreps.com editor Matt Gilmore said. “The volume and quality of candidates we received this year was outstanding, but the GBL Foundation and the selection committee did an excellent job in narrowing the list to six finalists that are truly deserving of this honor. The talent of these six individuals, both on and off the field, certainly speaks for itself.”

The award is made possible by Mytown Media and Kpreps.com. As part of the award, Mytown Media will make a donation of $1,000 on behalf of the winner to the Dylan Meier Get Busy Livin’ Foundation.

Here is a look at each of the finalists’ on and off the field accomplishments:

2012 Get Busy Livin' - Kpreps Player of the Year Finalists

MONTEL COZART - QB, Bishop Miege
The University of Kansas recruit passed for an astounding 5,678 yards and 69 touchdowns in his career with the Stags. Cozart was picked first-team All-State by The Topeka Capital-Journal, Kpreps.com and Hovpen Sports. He also was the 2011 Kansas Gatorade Player of the Year, and the 2011 Eastern Kansas League Offensive Player of the Year. As a senior and team captain, he led the Stags to the Class 5A state championship game.

Off the field, Cozart is a member of the Miege Campus Ministry Team, the National Honor Society and is a leader for Unitown, a diversity retreat. He also serves as a tutor at St. Agnes Grade School and serves holiday meals at a local food kitchen.

Cozart: “Hearing a little background on the award, it would mean a lot to represent the award for the young man who passed away. It would be an honor to represent this award for my teammates and my coaching staff and the school.”

The Oklahoma State recruit for football and track and field helped the Spartans to a 9-2 record in his senior season. Morrow was a standout as a receiver, defensive back and return man, but he also has excelled in track and field. A two-time state champion long jumper, he owns the Kansas high school record with a leap of 25 feet, 8.5 inches. In football, he was recruited by numerous Division I schools and earned All-State honors by many media outlets.

Morrow is a member of the St. James Missionary Baptist Church. He is president of the Strength and Power Club at Emporia High School and enjoys working with students with special needs. He donates blood to Emporia’s Red Cross.

Morrow: “Everything in life, I will do it to my highest potential. I need to do the best with my opportunities, because a lot of people don’t have the opportunities I’ve been blessed with.”

ZEKE PALMER - QB, Bishop Carroll
The Kpreps.com 2012 Class 5A Offensive Player of the Year advanced to at least the sub-state game in all four of his seasons with Bishop Carroll. As a senior, he led the Eagles to a 13-0 record and the Class 5A state championship. Palmer directed an offense that put up more than 52 points per game. He completed 71.5 percent of his passes, throwing for 2,333 yards and 22 touchdowns with only two interceptions. Palmer also rushed for more than 530 yards and 13 touchdowns. He received All-State honors from several media outlets. He has committed to Butler Community College.

Palmer has volunteered for Catholic Charities, working the Lord’s Diner that provides meals for the needy. He also has been active in the Center for Hope and the Twilight Walk for children with cancer. Palmer also serves on the high school’s leadership team.

Palmer: “It would be a real honor. It would mean that people see values in me, and that all the time and hard work I’ve put in is being noticed in a positive way.”

CLAY RHODES - OL, Blue Valley
The University of Missouri recruit has been a dominant force on the offensive line as a starter for the Tigers the past two seasons. At 6-foot-6, 275 pounds, Rhodes has earned All-State honors from numerous media outlets and was named an All-Kansas offensive lineman by ESPN. Rhodes, a team captain, helped Blue Valley reach the Class 5A state championship game in 2011. In addition to Missouri, Rhodes was recruited by LSU, Oregon, Oregon State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Kansas State, Kansas, Nebraska, Stanford, Iowa State, Indiana, Minnesota and Arizona State.

Rhodes has volunteered to be a peer mentor/tutor for special needs students the past two years. This includes taking students on field trips, to dances, campouts and other social events. He also volunteers for the KC Metro Challengers football program, various youth football camps in Johnson County, Harvesters and the annual Della Lamb Toy Drive. His hobbies include fishing and hiking.

Rhodes: “I will take the foundation’s philosophy into my life by doing everything I can for my teammates and putting people in front of me. I will be a servant-leader. I hope to bring that mentality into the SEC. I will try to live life to the fullest like Dylan did.”

The Northwest Missouri State recruit passed for 2,278 yards and 24 touchdowns his senior season and 5,123 yards and 47 touchdowns for his career. The first sophomore to start at quarterback for Lawrence High, Strauss also rushed for 1,972 yards and 30 touchdowns in his career. Strauss also served as a punter and return man for the Lions. He earned All-State honors by numerous media outlets.

Strauss led the football team’s participation in a local food bank. He is active in FLA, Link, Christmas Adopt a Family, the National Honor Society and the team’s youth football camp. He earned a 30 on his ACT and boasts a 3.7 grade-point average.

Strauss: “It would be a great award. It’s an individual award, but awards like that come with team success and the whole team would have played a part in winning the award.”

TANNER WOOD - QB/RB/LB, Conway Springs
The Kansas State recruit was the Kpreps.com 2012 Class 3A Offensive Player of the Year. Wood played quarterback, running back and linebacker in high school, but is being recruited as a defensive end by the Wildcats. He rushed for 2,709 yards and 39 touchdowns as a senior, which included a state-record 659-yard and nine touchdown effort in an 84-56 win over Chaparral. Wood, 6-5 and 240 pounds, also recorded 105 tackles as a linebacker. He was the Central Plains League Offensive and Defensive MVP and received All-State honors by numerous media outlets.

Wood is involved in the National Honor Society, Student Council, the Battle of the Birds Canned Food Drive, the Special Olympics, Tornado Relief Cleanup, Citywide Cleanup, Steering Committee, Cardinal Council and is a youth football volunteer.

Wood: “It’s good to go out and help others who are less fortunate in the community. I want to help people whenever they need it. I enjoy hunting and everything else about the outdoors. I would continue to help the homeless and those who have been affected by tornadoes.”


The GBL also would like to recognize the other 24 candidates who made the first cut as Top 30 finalists:

·         Bernhardt, Spencer -- QB – Pittsburg

·         Cleveland, Gabe – FB/LB – Eudora

·         Cordell, Chet – RB/DB – Little River

·         Doyle, Denver – RB/LB – Garden Plain

·         Farwell, Skylar – RB/LB – Lyndon

·         Flinn, Wyatt – TE/DL – Mankato-Rock Hills

·         Gantz, Dalton – RB/LB – Ness City

·         Gomez, Chris – OL/DL – St. James Academy

·         Guild, Gabe – RB – Shawnee Mission South

·         Irsik, Jordan – DB – Ingalls

·         Johnson, Ben – TE – Basehor-Linwood

·         Juenemann, Justin – K – Phillipsburg

·         Keeley, Kip – FB/LB – La Crosse

·         Lowe, Trevor – RB/LB – Thunder Ridge

·         McKinney, Samuel – QB/DB – Weskan

·         McClaren, Matt – QB/RB – Minneola

·         Ramsey, Aaron – QB – Blue Valley Southwest

·         Redington, Ty – QB – Mulvane

·         Scholes, Anthony – RB – Girard

·         Sims, Kellen – QB/RB/WR/DB/Ret – Derby

·         Steiner, Bryce – QB/DB – Central Plains

·         Whitehair, Kaleb – WR – Ell-Saline

·         Wilkins, Conley – RB – Blue Valley West

·         Windmiller, Skyler – QB – Mill Valley


Dylan Meier, a 2002 graduate of Pittsburg High School, was a two-time All-State quarterback for the Purple Dragons. He continued his football career at Kansas State and started 11 games from 2004-2006 as the Wildcats' signal caller.

On April 19, 2010, Meier died at the age of 26 in an accident while hiking with family in Arkansas.

In addition to his time in Kansas, Dylan played professional football in Germany and Italy, served as a bodyguard for Italian fashion models, worked in a vineyard overseas, ran with the bulls in Spain, and went skydiving in the Alps. His next plans included coaching football in Europe, teaching English in Korea and possibly a return to Kansas State as a graduate assistant.

“He had a real zest for life,” Merle Clark, Dylan’s former coach and a family friend said days after the accident. “He lived a lot in his 26 years.”

That zest for life is the basis of the Get Busy Livin’ Foundation that was established in Dylan’s honor. The mission is to provide support for individuals and groups that embody the values that Dylan pursued: adventure, fitness, curiosity, generosity, and a daily zest for life experiences.

The GBL Foundation is determined to breakdown the boundaries that keep people from living life to the fullest, whether those boundaries be social, economic or imaginary.

The GBL Foundation will use donations to promote these values in the following ways: student/athletic scholarships, sport camp sponsorships, student travel abroad scholarships, community service needs and other activities that inspire and build character.

For more information, please visit http://getbusylivin.org

Photos courtesy of PrepsKC (Rhodes, Strauss, Palmer), Andy Taylor of the Montgomery County Chronicle (Wood), Laura Schwinn (Morrow), and Matt Gilmore (Cozart). Artwork arrangement by Andy Wachter (Kpreps.com).

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