It’s been more than a year since Michael Dyer carried a football for a college team.
The once promising young running back had back-to-back 1,000-yard rushing seasons with Auburn in 2010 and 2011 and won a national championship with the Tigers in 2010.
During that time, however, trouble seemed to follow him wherever he went and it ultimately got him somewhat blackballed from the FBS ranks.
But now he says he wants back in. Dyer has spent the past year at Arkansas Baptist College getting his grades and his mind right. He’s been working out, not playing football, and on Wednesday he joined THV 11’s Mark Edwards to discuss a possible return to the FBS.
“I was asked to sit out a year,” Dyer said on the broadcast. “I was asked to do a lot of changing and maturing to become a better person and a better football player. I spent this whole year doing exactly what I was asked to so that I could reach some of the goals that I knew later that I wanted to do.”
Dyer's past is admittedly checkered. He was kicked off Auburn’s team following the 2011 regular season after he provided a gun to teammates who were involved in an armed robbery. Two of those teammates are currently in jail.
In 2012, Gus Malzahn, the former Auburn offensive coordinator and then coach at Arkansas State, decided to give Dyer a second chance. However, in March 2012, during Dyer’s NCAA-mandated redshirt transfer season, Arkansas State Police stopped him for speeding. A search of Dyer’s vehicle found backpack with a handgun and a substance that appeared to be marijuana. The police officer, Cpl. Royce Denney, turned off the cruiser camera, dumped the substance on the ground and decided to issue Dyer, and a teammate in a separate car, citations for speeding 96 miles per hour in a 70 miles per hour zone. No other charges were filed and the stop was swept under the rug until July when the police contacted Arkansas State to tell the school that it was releasing the video and audio. Dyer was dismissed from the team a day later.
“I was 18, I was 19 years old when I was growing up and trying to mature and trying to find ways to get through life and now that I’m 22 and I had a setback and I’ve been through a lot, it makes me mature, it makes me grow, it makes me learn from the things that I did do and know that I shouldn’t have done,” Dyer said. “So now it’s like you got one shot to go back out there and prove to people that you’re on the right track, that you can do this and that you are focused.”
Dyer is set to graduate this spring and become eligible for any team to take a chance. While there are a lot of programs that could use Dyer’s talent, he’s pitching one in particular — Arkansas.
As an Arkansas native, Dyer said he’d love to play for new coach Bret Bielema and be part of helping that program get back on track. In a way, it would be a mutually beneficial relationship as both parties look for fresh starts. But is Bielema — or any coach for that matter — ready to take on a project like Dyer, who has already had two very major strikes.
Malzahn, who is now the head coach at Auburn, tried to be the good guy and give Dyer a chance and he was rewarded with another gun issue and probably several lies. Is another coach willing to take that gamble?
Dyer's talent has never been a question, it’s always been the quality of the man. Is Michael Dyer a different person after having the game stripped from him? We'll find out in a couple weeks when Dyer plans to announce his future destination.
“If I was given the chance, I would definitely do the best that I can for [Arkansas] and for the coaches and for the fans,” Dyer said. “To be able to play at home, I think any kid would love that dream to come back home and start over and play at home. But I’m just, you know, sitting here. I’m going to play it out and I’m going to let God do the rest for me.”
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