Alright folks. First things first.
Get. Off. Your. High. Horse.
Next thing: I am not a win at all costs guy. Not in the slightest. I am a "Show Class" kind of Auburn fan. If you have ever been to a game with me, watched a game with me, talked football, etc...you will see that I am a realist and a firm believer in the University before winning.
Rumor has it that Dyer wants back in the Big Show. Rightfully so! If you would have told me in the fall of 2009 that we would be talking about Dyer begging to make it in to a program....ANY program.....just to have the slightest chance at an NFL career, I (And Scout. And Rivals. And anyone else who saw him play ) would have politely L-O-L'd at you.
This kid was a forgo his senior year guy out of the box, and we all knew it. The only question in our mind was, would he get enough carries to show that he was better than Lattimore in order to be the first RB taken in the draft (oh how times have changed, huh?).
And what did he do? Well, only break the freshman record set by Mr. Vincent Bo Jackson on the way to National Championship.
There were bumps along the way, for sure. I had a very good friend who was working on the team in this period of time. All he could say about Dyer was that he was just as talented as we all knew him to be. And he knew it. And he knew the team couldn't be without him, which was leading to internal strife.
That seemed to be verified as rumors swirled in late December that Dyer wasn't playing in the NC....and he didn't even see the field until the 2nd quarter. Sure, he made all of us forget that and made all of us run to the closest sports apparel retailer for a Under Armour #5 jersey after his absolutely phenomenal 4th Quarter run that broke the Duck's back.
Then the "hold up" happened. 4 teammates, a month after winning a National Championship, were in jail for a robbery at gunpoint, supposedly over drug money. IN JAIL! FOR ROBBERY WITH A GUN! Again, the rumor mill spun out a web that caught Dyer up in the middle of it, specifically that he provided the hand gun. But, it was squashed pretty well....even as the 2011 season got under way.
Despite a lack-luster, but expected, 2011 8-5 season, Dyer churned out 1200 yards behind a team that couldn't really do much of anything. Though he was not at the Bowl Game.....
After the season, word got out from the official trial of the Auburn robbers that Dyer had supplied a gun and had testified that he had habitually smoked spice. Facepalm. Right? Well, any lawyer will tell you that we shouldn't judge too harshly. Owning a gun isn't illegal, and neither was smoking spice. Right, wrong, or indifferent, it wasn't even against team policy at the time. But, hey, everyone can judge. Me included. Just because it wasn't illegal doesn't make it right.
And off he went. MVP of the 2010 NC game. MVP of the 2011 season. NFL talent. Ousted from Running Back U.
But here is where I want you to think a LITTLE differently. Malzahn initially took him in at Arkansas State. So, despite what Gus' loud mouth wife says, he obviously had faith that Dyer could give him something to benefit from at minimal expense. Dyer went through spring ball, even played in the spring game.
Short time later, Dyer was back on the bus home after a policeman pulled him over and found a gun and something that resembled weed.
Ok. Just the facts here, folks. A handgun. OH NO! Perfectly legal, unless it had a scrubbed ID or was stolen. It was neither. Should an NFL talent have a handgun? Survey says? No. Plexico can attest. Ray Lewis' friend can attest. Rolando McClain can attest. Weed like substance? Come now. I don't know about yall, but any time a cop has suspected me of having an out of date dental insurance card, I have gotten the courtesy search. I find it awfully hard to believe that a cop who finds a suspect gun AND weed like substance lets anyone walk. Furthermore, the cop was fired after the incident. I still haven't heard the real reason why, though I had read about how the cop tried to give Dyer a life lesson.
What should Ark State do? Bad publicity from a known troublemaker? Yeah. Can't fault them for sending him packing. Right? It's hard to take the side of a kid who has a questionable past and hasn't really done anything for you other than sell some tickets. Was there more to the story? Possibly. Must be. Right? People don't jump to conclusions over reporting (SARCASM!). Regardless, Arkansas State had little invested in him and surely didn't want that kind of publicity.
So, here we are. I have heard the rumors. I have read the blurbs and tweets culminating with the SaturdayDownSouth article I read just a little while ago.
And while everyone is saying "DON'T YOU BRING THAT TROUBLE MAKER HERE!" Everyone also thinks about how good their backfield would look with that kid taking hand offs. Especially me.
I think Auburn could and should give him a chance, though Auburn beat reporters have Tweeted me and said that Auburn is not interested despite very real and personal outreach by Dyer's family.
Ok. Follow me here, folks. He has, realistically, 1 chance left. The NFL...if you didn't know...isn't about pure talent. Not in the slightest. The NFL wants intelligence and character. The NFL wants a body of work. They also want someone who is field ready. This REALLY puts Dyer up against the wall here. His character has lacked in the past, otherwise we wouldn't be talking. His body of work was .....ok.....but he really needs a showcase season. But these aren't the REAL reasons he wants back on a team. He could accomplish this by going to any mid-tier team.
Dyer is seeking any top tier program right now, but not for the reasons you might think. Sure, he needs the exposure, but in this day and age, players are getting found at small schools constantly. What he needs are top training facilities and trainers. I can guarantee you he wasn't getting that at Arkansas Babtist. Probably not at Ark State, either. He needs a coach and coordinator who is devoted to the power run. That rules out the entirety of the Pac-12 and Big East. Realistically, it also rules out the ACC. In fact....it really comes down to the Big 12 and the SEC. I don't really think the Big 12 will get him into the NFL, and I bet he agrees. Texas is the team of teams in there, and they are down. I don't think they come back this year. That leaves the SEC. Arkansas seems to be a great fit for him initially because Bielema is there...who loves a between the tackles, one cut back. But, they are pretty deep at RB and pretty thin every else. That's not a good combo for a 1-and-Done player. He needs to step on to campus and be a starter. Furthermore, he has no preexisting relationships with Bielema.
No offense to Tre Mason. Love watching the kid play. I know he works hard. But, he is a square peg in a round hole. He isn't quite the #1-Position back that Auburn needs. Artis-Payne more closely resembles that. He isn't fast enough to be a #3-Position back. Grant is faster. And, while he went over 1,000 yards last year, it took him until the very last play of an atrocious season to make it. He only had 3 100yard plus games all year. Clemson was a great game to open, but New Mexico State and Alabama A&M were his other 2. So, ZERO 100 yard games against SEC opponents. Eh.
Tre is a change of pace back. Or, a 3rd and long back. Always has been.
Auburn needs Dyer. Believe it or not, but he is either worshipped and missed by fans, or scorned outwardly while they praise him in their closest. Ok, for realz. Auburn needs a 1 cut back with enough speed to break the corner once a game. I am not sure Artis-Payne has that. If he did, he would be elsewhere right now. Auburn must have a super star at RB to be successful. Period. Anyone that says differently doesn't know Auburn football. Quick. Name the starting backs at Auburn over the last 20 years. No peeking. Ok. I'll give it a try. Here we go.....
There are only 2 guys on this list that are or were questionable NFL talents. One never had the right coordinator and 1 just isn't an NFL talent. I will let you pick which is which. The rest? Yep. NFL Baby. Name another team that can boast that.
It's a fact. Auburn doesn't have the heritage, nor can recruit and coach, QBs that can win games with their arms. Name one QB who could! And don't say Sullivan to Beasley. Even the winningest QB in Brandon Cox ALWAYS had a RB to lean on. Campbell had a stable of terrific receivers and 3 different early rounder NFL RBs. Cam ran over people. Craig ran around them. Leard...eh......
Another fact. Auburn doesn't currently have a QB on the roster that can win. No reflection of them, solely. It's the receivers too. They can say what they want, but they aren't the best group Auburn has seen. They might be the best group never to perform to expected levels of their so-called talent levels.
Now, why should Auburn take Dyer back? Well, the obvious reason is to give Under Armour the chance to take those #5 off the clearance rack. AMIRITE?
The great thing about the situation is this: I believe, with my whole heart, that Auburn could tell him to pay for his own school, room and board, and his family would put up the money. Auburn wouldn't even burn a scholarship. Next best thing...this is the end of the line. If he blows it, and he very well could, he will never realize his NFL dream. Auburn can play it however they like. First time he gets in trouble....POOF. Gone. And he can't enroll and play elsewhere.
What's the worst that could possibly happen? Sure, he could do something absolutely stupid and embarrass the University. But, let me tell ya, they are all one party away from that at all times. Auburn can play the high road card and say that it wanted to give him the opportunity to do right....but shucks if he didn't. Honestly, I would rather take a chance with a 22 year old man that's made mistakes and knows what he MUST do to get in the NFL than with an 18 year old kid who thinks he is the next NFL great.
What's the upside? There is all kinds of upside here. Dyer is a kid that you can gain yards with even when they know it's coming. Something that couldn't be done last year...period. Sure, he is 1-and-Done. That's ok. That's usually the Auburn way.
Lastly, it comes down to numbers. We can scratch and fight over high school recruits that could do anything or nothing. Or, we can give a second...third...whatever...chance to a kid that WANTS to be at Auburn. Wants to go to the NFL. And has the ability to actually do it.