By Susie Epp
Big 12 Campus Correspondent
To Kerry Meier, life is about challenges. A self-described competitor, the Kansas senior wide receiver sees competition in every aspect of his life, on and off the football field.
Part of his nature comes from having grown up with three older brothers and a father who were all heavily involved in sports. All three of Meier's brothers played college football. Shad and Dylan played at Kansas State, while Adam played at Pittsburg State. Growing up in Pittsburg, Kan., Meier and his brothers participated in sports, but also challenged each other in other areas.
"We competed in things around the house like video games, board games and playing baseball and basketball," said Meier, who is majoring in sports management. "We were always pushing each other and they were always pushing me. It was a very competitive household. I was the youngest so I had to hold my own."
Meier's competitive side continued in to high school and in 2006 he earned a scholarship and starting quarterback role with the Kansas football team. He started in eight games, completing 104-of 184 pass attempts. Meier threw for 1,193 yards and recorded 13 touchdowns for the Jayhawks.
In 2007, current starting quarterback Todd Reesing won the starting job, and Meier switched positions to wide receiver. Through the transition, he used competition as his motivation to become one of the best wide receivers in college football. That year, Meier caught 26 passes for 274 yards in 10 games and helped lead his team to a victory against Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl.
In 2008, Meier continued his rise in the national rankings as a wide receiver. His efforts on the field earned him a sixth-place tie in the NCAA in receptions per game. He also broke the school record with 97 receptions for 1,045 yards and eight touchdowns and was one of 10 candidates for the Biletnikoff Award, an honor awarded to the nation's top receiver.
"In the off-season in the weight room, Jake Sharp and I were lifting partners and we were always pushing each other," said Meier, who stands at 6-3, 221-pounds. "Every day he'd come out and push me and I'd push him. We'd keep putting more weight on the bar and see if we could lift it. Competition is everywhere when you play football. Even off the field you can find yourself competing and you don't even realize it."
Meier's inner desire has motivated him to become one of the best receivers in the nation, but has also affected him in other areas of life. Last year, Meier and roommate Reesing shared an apartment in Lawrence and found themselves competing in nearly everything they did. Although Reesing had taken over Meier's starting quarterback job the year before, the kitchen was where the roommates battled the most.
"We'd duel when we'd cook," said Meier, who is a senior. "We'd have cooking challenges. We wouldn't go head-to-head; but we knew each other was cooking. We wouldn't come out and say we were competing, but you could get the feeling that the other guy was cooking and it was a competition."
The most heated cook-offs between Meier and Reesing came with their creativity in preparing chicken.
"We'd bake it, grill it and all sorts of things," said Meier. "I picked it up from growing up with my brothers. We'd cook out a lot at home. When I got to college it kind of became second nature."
On the field, Meier believes that players must be competitive in order to find success.
"In the game of football, if you're not competitive, it's going to be a tough road," the senior said. "(The) Kansas football program now is bringing in talented recruits every year. They're bringing in guys who increase the competition and make you want to get better, so you always have to bend your toes and push yourself to make yourself better."
Although Meier has already proven himself on the field, he continues to use his competitive nature to improve his game.
"A lot of people think guys that have a good year are a shoo-in to play a lot, but in football nothing's guaranteed or given," said, Meier, who lists his favorite athlete as Michael Jordan, who was defined by his competitive fire. "You have to come out and push yourself and get better each day. That's what I'm trying to do."