Former Auburn running back Michael Dyer will finally get that second chance he deserved. Dyer plans to enroll at Louisville, according to USA Today Sports. Dyer’s mentor, Arkansas Baptist College President Fitz Hill, told USA Today Sports that Dyer has accepted a scholarship with the Cardinals and will begin classes next week. The Louisville Courier-Journal had reported earlier in the week that Dyer had been added to the university registrar’s database, which usually signifies an incoming student. The move had been made, it was just a matter of when and how Dyer and Hill released the information.
“He’s excited to have an opportunity to resume his career,” Hill told USA TODAY Sports on Thursday evening. “Many people doubted that Michael would ever make this comeback, and it’s here.”
Dyer was a standout freshman at Auburn during their 2010 BCS title-winning season. He broke Bo Jackson’s freshman rushing record, won the BCS title game MVP over Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton, and eventually rushed for 2,335 yards and 15 touchdowns during his two-year Auburn career. After his sophomore season, Dyer was suspended indefinitely by then-Auburn coach Gene Chizik for positive drug tests. Dyer transferred to Arkansas State where his former Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn, the man who recruited him to Auburn, had just been named head coach. But before Dyer played any games at Arkansas State, he was involved in a controversial traffic stoppage, in which a gun – that was legally obtained, unloaded and for which Dyer had a permit – was discovered in his trunk. He was never charged with any crime, nor was he given a chance to explain himself.
“Everybody you talk to thinks he’s an ex-felon,” Hill told USA Today Sports. “He’s not an ex-anything.”
As Grantland’s Bryan Curtis wrote in his piece on Dyer and the culture of “red flags,” Dyer had “entered a kind of media black hole, where the suggestion of criminality was equal to actual crimes. A day later, [Malzahn] called Dyer and told him he was off the football team.”
Dyer had to rebound his playing career, but also rebrand himself.
After he was ousted from Arkansas State, he eventually landed at Arkansas Baptist College last fall, where he was mentored by Hill – who coached at San Jose State earlier in his career – and graduated with an associates degree, making him immediately eligible to play as a junior this fall. He’ll be another weapon in Louisville’s arsenal as they begin their campaign for an outside chance at a BCS title bid. A two-time, 1000-yard rusher who ran a 4.37 40-yard dash coming out of high school never hurt any team.
Dyer has promised Louisville head coach Charlie Strong that he wouldn’t let him down, Hill told USA Today. ”He looked in (Strong’s) eyes and said he wouldn’t let him down.” Louisville quarterback and Heisman candidate Teddy Bridgewater told ESPN earlier this week that he and his Louisville teammates “would take him in and welcome him.”
For Dyer, this could be the pivotal moment of his football career, and perhaps his life. If he takes advantage of this situation and avoids the “red flags,” no matter how incidental, he could play in the NFL and make everyone forget that they ever questioned him.
Dyer told USA TODAY Sports he intended to clear his name at his next, and hopefully final, stop.
“I’m not bringing anything but my clothes and myself,” he said. “My next opportunity, I’m just gonna go play football, go to class, be respectful and do all the things I’m supposed to do. That’s it for me.”