Making the morning rounds.
• Reunited and it feels so good. As expected, former Auburn running back Michael Dyer plans to enroll at Arkansas State, according to the Associated Press, fulfilling weeks of rumors that the former five-star recruit was heading back to his home state. Dyer was a first-team All-SEC pick in 2011 after breaking Auburn's freshman rushing record in 2010, but fell out of favor with coach Gene Chizik and was suspended for the Tigers' trip to the Chick-Fil-A Bowl for an undisclosed violation of team rules.
Whatever his issues with coaches, though, they apparently do not extend to his old offensive coordinator, Gus Malzahn, who will welcome Dyer aboard as the new head coach at Arkansas State. Barring an unforeseen hardship waiver from the NCAA, Dyer will sit out the 2012 season and return with two years of eligibility remaining in 2013 — though at that point, he'll also be eligible to move on to the NFL Draft. [al.com]
• Happy trails. In other five-star transfer news, former blue-chip Kyle Prater is leaving USC after struggling with injuries and playing time over the last two years. Prater was as hyped as they come out of high school — according to Rivals, he was the No. 1 wide receiver and No. 3 overall player in the entire 2010 recruiting class — but was forced to redshirt because of a bad hamstring and then found himself languishing on the depth chart last year behind freshman All-American Marqise Lee.
Prater's most likely destination: Notre Dame, which was in the hunt for Prater's services as a recruit (he's from suburban Chicago) and just picked up another once-hyped Trojan transfer over the weekend in tailback Amir Carlisle. [Orange Country Register, L.A. Daily News]
• Well, I can stay and try to defend Drew Brees and Cam Newton, or I can go and try to defend Jordan Jefferson. In other Auburn news, the Tigers confirmed Monday that they're bringing former Georgia defensive coordinator Brian Van Gorder back to the SEC, poaching BVG from the Atlanta Falcons to revamp a defense that finished last or next-to-last in the conference in 2011 in every major category. At Georgia, Van Gorder's units finished in the top 15 nationally in both scoring and total defense three years in a row from 2002-04, en route to an SEC championship (2002) and three consecutive top-10 finishes. The fact that he always looks like he just stepped off a pontoon boat in a '70s movie starring Burt Reynolds can't hurt. [al.com]
• Three-week Knight. Meanwhile, the man Van Gorder is replacing, journeyman Ted Roof, is making a bee-line for Bill O'Brien's rapidly assembling staff at Penn State, where Roof was announced along with several other coaches Monday and is expected to take over as the Nittany Lions' first new defensive coordinator in 12 years. Technically, Roof is coming from Central Florida, where he spent a little less than a month following his departure from Auburn at the end of the regular season. [Harrisburg Patriot-News]
• The saga continues. Shockingly, former Michigan quarterback Tate Forcier has withdrawn from San Jose State amid apparent academic and financial concerns, bringing his career tally at Division I schools to 0-for-3 in three years. Forcier was a full-time starter at Michigan in 2009, but left at the end of his sophomore season after losing the starting job to Denard Robinson and falling behind in class; after a brief stop in Miami, he spent the 2011 season waiting out a mandatory transfer on the bench at SJSU with an eye toward becoming the Spartans' starter in 2012. According to his father, Forcier is back home, helping with the family's struggling bus and limousine service. [San Jose Mercury News]
• Das Boot. The post-Neuheisel attrition begins at UCLA with three players — tight end Raymond Nelson, defensive end Wesley Flowers and receiver/cornerback Randall Carroll — who were kicked off the team Monday by new coach Jim Mora. Nelson and Flowers were both booted for the ever-popular "violation of team rules," apparently related to incidents prior to the Bruins' trip to the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl; Carroll, a former top-100 recruit who arrived in 2009 as one of the most hyped signees of the Neuheisel era, is done because of academics. [L.A. Daily News]
Quickly… Mike Gundy says Oklahoma State would have thrown the ball 50 times in the BCS Championship Game, although he doesn't specify against which team. … Arizona lands a big transfer from the MAC. … Todd Graham adds a familiar face as his new defensive coordinator at Arizona State. … And I'm sure those fans at the BCS championship game were more than happy to give up their seats to the media.