NORMAN — Carson Meier’s play on the football field exudes toughness. A hard-hitting fullback, he’s been responsible for several blocks to spring running backs during his four-year career.
On Saturday, the Union High School graduate will race into Memorial Stadium for one final time. It’s the last time 85,000 crimson-and-cream clad fans will cheer his play. He’ll be introduced with his parents Judi and Cal Meier by his side.
The blue-collar player will soak everything in. It won’t be easy.
“It’s going to be emotional. I’ll try and hide it the best I can but at some point in that game — whether it is before it starts or when it’s over with — it’s going to hit me that it’s my last time I played at Owen Field in front of all those incredible fans out there,” Meier said. “It’s going to be tough. I’m looking forward to it. But it’s going to be tough.
“As a kid, that’s something you dream about. Being from Oklahoma and playing out there in front of 85,000. That time’s finally come for me and it’s my last one coming up. I’m going to make the most of it and savor every minute.”
Meier is having the best offensive season of his career. After not registering any stats during his first three seasons, the fifth-year senior has 10 catches for 174 yards and three touchdowns.
Meier has not only been a blocker for OU this season. The 6-foot-5, 254-pounder has been a weapon.
“It’s always fun seeing those big guys get the ball. They don’t really get the ball a lot,” quarterback Kyler Murray said. “Whenever I complete a pass to Carson, I kind of feel this connection. I know he’s satisfied. Obviously he hasn’t gotten to touch the rock a lot like that so when I can get him the ball a lot, or more, I feel good with myself. I’m glad to see him playing the way he is.”
Meier redshirted the 2014 season and spent the majority of the next three seasons behind Dimiri Flowers and Mark Andrews on the depth chart. He still played in every game, often on special teams and as a blocker for teammates like Baker Mayfield, Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon.
His family has attended nearly every game of their son’s career at OU. Cal Meier said he and wife Judi missed the last trip to West Virginia but will be in attendance on Black Friday.
A former basketball player at Tulsa, Cal Meier understands competing at the highest level of your sport.
“The redshirt year, you know what it is. It’s a time to get bigger, to learn about college and football. As much as he loves football, it wasn’t an issue to sit out and be patient,” Cal Meier said. “The second year and third year, he was behind Dimitri and Mark. There were some times that we talked and we talked about patience and all that. He really wanted to make it work at OU. Now that he is starting and getting 50-55 snaps a game, it’s all worthwhile. This has been a special year for all of us.”
Meier understands that his skill set is different than Flowers and Andrews, but he took things from both to work into his game. He said he also watches film of players with the same build and athleticism as him to help develop his game.
His first college reception was a 32-yard grab at Iowa State. He added touchdown receptions against Army, TCU and Texas Tech. He had two catches for 45 yards in last Saturday’s win over Oklahoma State.
Meier admits it’s weird hearing his name as a fullback.
“I consider myself more of a tight end, but that’s what I am — a fullback. We use it a little differently around here. It’s not a true fullback like it was back in the day,” Meier said. “Playing fullback — you have to know almost every position on the field. You have to know receiver, fullback, running back, everything. I’m glad.”
He never lined up in the backfield during his successful prep career at Union.
“It’s something I had to learn since I got here. It is a lot different coming out of the backfield compared to having your hand in the ground at the line of scrimmage,” Meier said. “At first, I was a little uncertain of the move from tight end to fullback. But I’m so glad I did it. It’s brought a new aspect to my game. It’s taught me more about the game of football. I’m excited for the change.”
OU coach Lincoln Riley became familiar with Meier when he arrived as offensive coordinator in 2015. He has called every play that Meier has been involved in for four seasons.
“He’s progressed as much as anybody we’ve had on those reps throughout the years behind the scenes, with Dimitri taking most of them in games,” Riley said. “Just sometimes, guys seem to get to that senior year and they haven’t had a huge role on the team and they gain that opportunity and they gain some confidence and they get as invested as they’ve ever been and they play some of the best ball of their lives. That’s what he’s doing right now.
“He’s blocked really well. He’s come a long ways because that’s a very demanding position mentally with all that we put on those guys. I would say the big bonus has been how much of a threat he’s become as a receiver. He’s made some game-changing plays for us there.”
A four-time All-Big 12 academic selection, Meier already has graduated with a bachelor’s degree in finance and is on pace for a master’s degree next spring.
On Saturday, he’ll put on his No. 45 jersey (his only number since fourth-grade football and what was worn by his father at TU) and prepare for his final home game.
“It’s crazy how fast time flies. As a freshman, a lot of the older guys say it flies by and make the most of it. As a freshman, you kind of shake it off and say whatever,” Meier said. “Being a senior now, it really does. For those younger guys out there listening, make the most of it. Put in the extra hours, the extra workouts when nobody is looking. Make sure and do everything right, all the little things.
“I’m seeing the fruits of that (in my) final year.”