Chris Bahn: Is Michael Dyer Still A Risk?

There are so many things we have seen from Michael Dyer over this past year.

We saw Michael Dyer take the witness stand and admit to some incredibly haphazard and poor decision making while at Auburn. He detailed his use of marijuana and spice, and during that same testimony he explained how his gun — despite his protests — was used in a robbery involving Auburn teammates.

We saw Michael Dyer express how happy he was for a second chance at Arkansas State. Then, we saw Dyer booted from Arkansas State after video that became public of an interaction with a state trooper that turned up marijuana and a gun in his car during a traffic stop outside Searcy.

We then saw Dyer disappear from the spotlight for a while. He became just another student at Arkansas Baptist. (Well, just another student who appeared in a USA Today feature story.) It was at the tiny college in Little Rock that Dyer has been working to rehab his image and get his life in order.

Now we’re seeing some contrition for mistakes made at Auburn and Arkansas State. We see possible regret over him not choosing Arkansas out of Little Rock Christian High School.

Here’s what Dyer, the state’s all-time leading rusher, told Mark Edwards from Today’s THV in a recent interview:

If given the chance, I would definitely go down there and do the best that I can – for the team and the for the coaches and for fans. And 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 going to sit here and play it out and let God do the rest for me.

In the above comments Dyer appears to be saying the right things. All the right notes are hit as he talks about Arkansas being a dream destination, playing hard for the fans and turning control over to God.

Perhaps the time Dyer spent at Arkansas Baptist has served him well.

We see a man who wants us to believe he’d relish another chance.

But you know what we haven’t seen out of Dyer over the past year? Production on the football field.

That lack of playing time only complicates the issue for Dyer as he searches for a third college football program willing to give him a chance.

Dyer, the same guy who broke Bo Jackson’s freshman rushing record at Auburn, has not played a real down since Nov. 26, 2011. Dyer, the same guy who was the BCS title game offensive MVP as a freshman, took his last in-game handoff for four yards on a third-and-nine play from the Auburn 21 in a 42-21 loss to Alabama in the final game of the 2011 season.

There was a spring game performance for the Red Wolves last year that showed some promise. Dyer carried 15 times for 85 yards, caught a couple of passes and fumbled once for the Red Wolves.

If a team knew for sure it was getting the 2010-11 Auburn Dyer talent with 2013 Dyer focus and attitude, or, heck, even spring 2012 Dyer, then taking him at his word and trusting what advocates at Arkansas Baptist are saying about him would be easier. But there is no guarantee that the production will be there or what kind of shape he’ll be in entering fall camp.

Certainly, Dyer had more important things to take care of this past year than football. His focus needed to be on something other than athletics, and the new attitude is great to see.

So even with better decision-making skills, Dyer looks like a continued risk.

Maybe Michael Dyer is a changed man and we should applaud him for that. But is he a changed football player? Can a major program — TCU and Arkansas have been mentioned — feel comfortable offering him anything other than a chance to walk on while not knowing what he can offer on the field?

We’ll see.

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