JACKSON TWP — Playing football in college is a dream of many high school gridders.
It is set to become reality for Kevin Meeder.
Seneca Valley's senior offensive lineman recently signed a letter of intent to attend Division I's Ball State University and continue his football career while receiving a full scholarship.
“The thing I'm most excited about is getting an education,” he said. “I'm really interested in construction management and that's what I plan to get my degree in. The fact that I'm using football to pay for it makes it even better.”
Meeder (6-foot-5, 285 pounds) started at tackle for the Raiders for three seasons, the last two on the left side of the line.
“I started playing football in seventh grade and it was during my freshman year that I realized I could be good at it,” he said.
“I started spending more time in the weight room and went to camps during the offseason. The more I saw the dream, the more I wanted to go after it.”
It was in the middle of his junior season when colleges began to show interest in Meeder, beginning with the University of Pittsburgh.
SV coach Ron Butschle was pleased with Meeder's progress since making his first start in 2017.
“His technique improved every year,” he said. “He's very athletic and physical and if he got his hands on somebody, he dominated them.”
Meeder's decision came down to four schools, three from the Mid-American Conference in Toledo, Bowling Green and Ball State, along with Colorado State.
He was one of five offensive linemen signed by the Cardinals Dec. 18. Meeder has been told he will be red-shirted next fall.
“Ball State's campus (located in Muncie, Ind.) is big and spread out. The town is pretty isolated, but I'm a country boy,” said Meeder. “They like my footwork, quickness, aggression at the point of attack and the fact that I'm versatile. They are looking at me to be a guard or center. I'm comfortable with whatever makes the team better.”
Ball State is under the direction of Cardinals alum Mike Neu, who took over the program in 2016. The team went 5-7 last fall, including 4-4 in the MAC.
Meeder's athletic ability was evidenced by his competing in track and field and wrestling through his sophomore year before he began to focus solely on football.
It was on the gridiron where Meeder, a Harmony resident, spent his most memorable moments as a high school athlete. In 2018, he helped the Raiders reach the WPIAL championship game at Heinz Field.
“Getting revenge on Central Catholic and North Allegheny (in the playoffs), that's what stands out the most,” he said. “Coach Butschle taught me a lot about life, the ups and downs. He took us under his wing and treated us like his own sons. I'm going to miss that. I wish him and the program the best.”