Strauss named 2012 Dylan Meier Player of the Year

Photo courtesy of PrepsKC
By: Mark Schremmer for
Feb 20, 2013

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The Get Busy Livin’ Foundation, along with Mytown Media and, is pleased to announce that Lawrence High School senior Brad Strauss is the recipient of the second annual Dylan Meier Get Busy Livin’ Player of the Year Award.

The award, named in honor of the former standout quarterback at Kansas State University and Pittsburg High School who died in a hiking accident in April 2010 at the age of 26, goes to a Kansas high school senior football player who combines excellence on the field with community involvement, integrity and a commitment to the Get Busy Livin’ principles.

Shad and Kerry Meier will present the award to Strauss during an assembly at Lawrence High School on Thursday, March 28. Shad is Dylan’s older brother and played tight end at Kansas State before enjoying a career in the NFL. Kerry is Dylan’s younger brother and played wide receiver and quarterback at Kansas and now is a member of the Atlanta Falcons.

In addition to the award, the GBL is planning its third annual Dylan Meier 5-kilometer run in Pittsburg, Kan. The run and one-mile walk will be Saturday, April 27 at Hutchinson Field in Pittsburg. For more information, go to

The annual award is made possible by Mytown Media and As part of the award, Mytown Media will make a donation of $1,000 on behalf of Strauss to the Dylan Meier Get Busy Livin’ Foundation. The GBL also would like to honor Strauss by providing an $800 scholarship, as well as a $200 donation to the charity of his choice to continue the GBL spirit of “paying it forward.”

Strauss 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. He also was a punter and return man for the Lions. Strauss earned All-State honors by numerous media outlets, and signed to play college football at Northwest Missouri State University.

In addition to Strauss’ work on the field, he also stood out in the classroom and in the community. Strauss led the football team’s participation at 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. Strauss earned a 30 on his ACT and boasts a 3.7 grade-point average.

“Brad is the perfect fit for the award, because he embodies the essence of what Dylan was about: tireless work ethic, great character, commanding leader, and lives with a passion for life,” Shad Meier said.

A number of players from each classification were originally selected as candidates based on their exceptional on-field play. Fan nominations also were gathered through Coaches were then solicited for information about the players’ character, school performance, community involvement and hobbies.

From those submissions, the GBL Foundation narrowed down the group to six finalists. Each of the finalists answered a series of questions. From that, the Meier family and the GBL Foundation board selected Strauss as the winner.

Other finalists included Bishop Miege quarterback Montel Cozart, Emporia wide receiver and defensive back Jerel Morrow, Bishop Carroll quarterback Zeke Palmer, Blue Valley lineman Clay Rhodes and Conway Springs quarterback and linebacker Tanner Wood.

The following is a quick look at each finalist:

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, 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.

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.

ZEKE PALMER - QB, Bishop Carroll
The 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.

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.

TANNER WOOD - QB/RB/LB, Conway Springs
The Kansas State recruit was the 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.

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 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: adventurer, 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 are social, economic or imaginary.

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

For more information, please visit

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