Former Auburn running back Michael Dyer will be enrolling at the University of Louisville on a full scholarship after completing his Associate’s Degree at Arkansas Baptist College, according to USA Today.
Dyer rushed for 1,093 yards as a true freshman in 2010, outperforming none other than Cam Newton against Oregon en route to earning offensive MVP honors in the 2011 BCS national championship game. As a sophomore in 2011, he was even better, collecting 1,242 yards and doubling his scoring output. He went from five touchdowns as a frosh to 10 as a sophomore.
However, Dyer has not played a down of football since.
“He’s excited to have an opportunity to resume his career,” Dyer’s mentor at Arkansas Baptist, Fitz Hill told USA TODAY Sports on Thursday evening. “Many people doubted that Michael would ever make this comeback, and it’s here.”
Dyer himself could not be reached for comment, and Louisville is bound by NCAA rule to remain silent on recruits until they enroll. The star running back is expected to be a full-time student and at practices by next week.
Louisville, having opened the season at No. 9-nationally in the first USA Today Coaches Poll, harbors very real national title hopes in 2013. The Cardinals’ schedule shapes up extremely favorably for an undefeated run, especially with quarterback Teddy Bridgewater under center.
Dyer should, if he can still run like he used to, make a potent weapon out of the backfield for Bridgewater.
Again, Louisville cannot officially comment on incoming recruits, but coach Charlie Strong did talk about how important it is to give a young man a second chance.
“You want to make sure that if you bring anyone into your program, he’s going to become part of your program and you’re not going to become him. That’s what I always say,” Strong said. “Any time we’re looking to bring anyone into this program, it’s all about us wanting to change that young man’s future and give him a future where he has a chance to go be a productive citizen of society.”
But here’s the thing with Dyer that scared off most big-time programs: This is actually his third chance.
Dyer left Auburn in December of 2011 and has since admitted to smoking both synthetic and real marijuana. His offensive coordinator at the time, Gus Malzahn, had moved on to take over the open head coaching position at Arkansas State, and Dyer followed him there.
Unfortunately, Malzahn was forced to dismiss him early in 2012 after a traffic stop had been made public. Months earlier, Dyer was cited for driving 96 in a 70 MPH zone, and a handgun that had been unloaded and in his trunk was confiscated.
At that point, Dyer had several decisions to make: He could transfer to an FCS school or junior college and play immediately, he could do what former LSU standout Tyrann Mathieu did and sit out a year before entering the NFL Draft, or he could take a year off from the game and get his life together.
He chose the third option, and Fitz at Arkansas Baptist helped him make it happen.
“Based on what he has done at Arkansas Baptist College, I don’t have one negative,” Hill said. “I can’t talk about (what happened at) Auburn or Arkansas State, but I can talk about Arkansas Baptist College. It’s been all positive.”
“He hasn’t taken the easy way out,” Hill said. “That’s what I admire in respect.”
Charlie Strong apparently feels the same way. Now it’s up to Dyer to go out and prove, once and for all, that he deserves that respect – and this extra chance at football, fame, and an education.