Photo Credit: annependleton.comThis award started long before Hawk Digest (see below). I always singled out the KU football player or players that played hard no matter what each season -- the guys that delivered. In other words a list of my favorite players. Sometimes you can earn it on one play. And that is what Monte Cozzen's TD run against Oklahoma in 1992, hence the name of the award. It's gotten tougher the last few years, because nearly all of Mangino's players emulate that spirit. Still, I like to highlight a few players and for 2008 I have selected five players. I want to spend some time on each one, so these will roll out one post at a time. First up is Mr. Jayhawk himself:
97 receptions (KU record)
You really can't put into words what Kerry Meier is and has done for this team. He's the story you dream up in the backyard as a kid when you had your KU football jersey on and were throwing the football at trees and trash cans in the backyard in an imaginary march to a Big 8 Championship for the scrappy Jayhawks. For anyone who's been to a practice or a spring game, here's a fact -- Kerry Meier is a damn good quarterback. People will pin an up-and-down performance on him for the 2006 season, but he had a bad shoulder and was still getting some experience with very young overall Jayhawk squad. Nope, if you understand football, you know he can quarterback. I can name five teams in the north that would have an improved outlook for 2009, if he was on their roster. However, it just so happens we have another great quarterback at KU and he edged out Kerry for that job prior to the 2007 season. We all know the story. He was definitely down about losing the job, but pushed ahead and later in the season asked to play wide receiver. Really, he was instantly solid and the best hands on the team. The season was a great ride for everyone and merited an SI cover for Kerry. As the Orange Bowl win sunk in, there was a lot of talk about "just getting started." You can certainly say that Kerry Meier did the work in the offseason to get better. We all know the stats, we've seen the catch 1,000 times and know that he collected a team-record 14 receptions that day while playing on one leg (the legend will grow to a broken leg and maybe a leather helmet as I grow older). Now he wants a championship. How could I possibly doubt him? I leave you with this quote from current issue of the KU Alumni Association magazine:
"I came here to be a Jayhawk, I'm always going to be a Jayhawk, I'm leaving here a Jayhawk."
Note: I know I've already mentioned this, but when I started Todd Reesing over Kerry Meier in 2007 on the old X-Box, Kerry transferred at the end of the year. That's one thing that's not in the game -- Kerry Meier's heart. Keep trying EA. Also, I was depressed for about two days.
Cozzen's Award Winners--The Complete List:
1997 Ron Warner
1998 Patrick Brown
1999 Carl Nesmith, Chad Coellner
2001 Algie Atkinson
2002 Marcus Rodgers
2003 Bill Whittemore, Gabe Toomey
2004 Charles Gordon, Nick Reid, John Randle
2005 Charlton Keith, Jon Cornish, Banks Floodman, Mark Simmons
2006 Jon Cornish
2007 Todd Reesing, Anthony Collins, James McClinton, Brandon McAnderson, Aqib Talib
2008 Kerry Meier, ???, ???, ???, ???
Tuesday -- Part I: Play of the Year
Wednesday -- Part II: Wes Welker Award
Thursday -- Part III: Blog Awards
Friday -- Part IV: Monte Cozzens Awards
Photo Credit: annependleton.com