SHAWNEE MISSION, Kan. – Quarterback Montell Cozart (Shawnee Mission, Kan./Bishop Miege) didn’t win a state championship this year, but he definitely came out a winner for his junior season.
Cozart’s first year as Bishop Miege’s starting quarterback included major athletic and academic bullet points for his budding resume. Recently, Cozart received word that he was named to the National Honor Society. On Thursday, Cozart was named the Gatorade Football Player of the Year for Kansas.
Athletically, Cozart threw for 2,448 yards and 31 touchdowns and completed better than 63 percent of his passes, and he also rushed for 534 yards and seven scores to lead Bishop Miege to the Kansas Class 5A state quarterfinals. The 6-foot-2, 175-pounder, who possesses 4.5 speed in the 40-yard dash and a 35-inch vertical, was named the East Kansas League Offensive Player of the Year.
“I couldn’t do it without the coaches, the team and the good Lord,” Cozart said. “This is my first time starting as a quarterback, and the coaches put a lot of confidence in me. I just tried to do my best.”
Bishop Miege offensive coordinator Jon Holmes added: “The one thing he brings is that he’s a true dual-threat guy. We were able to do a lot with him with his legs. Defenses decided to put six or seven guys in the box, and he was able to make the right reads. We ask our quarterback to do a lot here, and in his first year starting, he was able to step in and do everything.”
Cozart flourished academically as well as athletically. He has a 3.55 grade point average and also balanced community service as a mentor and tutor for the school’s campus ministry program, as well as his church.
Cozart, also a guard on the school’s basketball team, said he family has stressed the important of having good grades in school since kindergarten. He knows that without a good report card, there will not be an opportunity to produce in football or basketball.
“Without a doubt, I think the National Honor Society was a bigger deal to him,” Holmes said. “That’s the kind of kid he is. He’s raised great at home. His mom cares a lot about academics, and he’s pushed. I could tell when I first talked to him about it that he was fired up. He didn’t mention anything else but that.”
Cozart was excited about the Gatorade honor, as most juniors aren’t selected over senior standouts. He’s hoping all the success he’s had translates into a college scholarship. He’s yet to receive an offer, but Kansas and Northern Illinois have expressed early interest.
“It’s always been a dream of mine to play the sport that I love in college, but I also want to keep up my academics,” said Cozart, who wants to play football and major in math at a BCS school. “It’d be nice to get both an athletic and academic scholarship someday.”