August 9, 2013

Former Auburn Standout Down to His Final Strike

By - Keith Smith

Two years ago, I thought that heading into the 2013 college football season there would be a distinct preseason favorite being touted for the Heisman Trophy from the SEC.

I didn't think it would be Johnny Manziel. I thought it would be Michael Dyer.

Photo by: John Biever
Dyer wowed the country as a freshman during the 2011 BCS National Championship Game against the Oregon Ducks, rushing for nearly 150 yards en route to being named the Offensive Player of the Game. This was on the team that boasted a guy named Cam Newton.

The 20-year-old also set the team mark for rushing yards by a freshman that same season with 1,043, eclipsing the record previously held by some guy named Bo Jackson.

If you're keeping score, those are two pretty big names that Dyer outshined as a true frosh.

And he wasn't just a one-year wonder. In his second season, the Arkansas native racked up 1,242 yards on 242 carries and 10 touchdowns. He seemed poised for a run at the Heisman either as a junior or senior.

Unfortunately, bad decisions on his part brought those aspirations to a screeching halt.

Prior to Auburn's Chick-Fil-A Bowl appearance in 2011, Dyer failed a drug test and was suspended indefinitely from the team. Rumors swirled that it wasn't his first failed test and he probably would never be reinstated. He asked for and was granted a transfer.

Dyer followed then offensive coordinator (now head coach) Gus Malzahn to Arkansas State University, but he never played a down there. Prior to the season, a gun and drugs were discovered in his car during a traffic stop and he was dismissed from the team.

He then transferred to Arkansas Baptist to finish his undergraduate degree. However, the 210-pound running back reappeared in Division-I college football last week when Louisville took a flyer on him. He is on a short leash, being asked to sign a behavior contract by Louisville head coach Charlie Strong. It basically puts Dyer on a zero tolerance policy in relation to his actions while enrolled at the school.

I don't know if Dyer can recapture the glory of his two years at Auburn, or if he can stay clean from his brushes with the law. I liked him (a lot) when he was playing for the Tigers, enough to predict he would win a Heisman Trophy. I no longer hold him in that high regard.

What I do like is that zero tolerance policy and the thought of making players sign a behavior contract. In fact, the reigning Heisman Trophy winner should probably be on one, too.

1 comment:

  1. I hope he can get it together or he will be a waste of talent. I remember this kid in high school when I lived in Little Rock loads of talent but short on common sense.