When Did Former Auburn Running Back Michael Dyer Go Wrong?

By Brandon Miller

Former Auburn running back Michael Dyer shook the world of college football Sunday afternoon once the news of his dismissal from the Arkansas State football team was announced.

It was reported Monday that the junior was pulled over for speeding, going 96 mph in a 70 mph zone, when marijuana and a gun were found in his car. The 58-minute video from the police car has audio of the trooper questioning Dyer for having both objects and offers to hold on to the gun for the running back while also threatening to tell Arkansas State Coach Gus Malzahn of Dyer’s possessions.

Dyer has shown his talents on the field as he has struggled with behavior off the field. At this point, the real question is when did his fall from grace begin?

Starting as the Tigers’ running back as a freshman in 2010, Dyer was a major part of an offense that produced an average of 284.8 rushing yards per game, which ranked fifth nationally. The true freshman rushed for 1,093 yards on 182 carries and five touchdowns. His numbers were good enough to break Heisman Trophy winner Bo Jackson‘s record for most yards for an Auburn freshman.

Along with the help of 2010 Heisman winner Cam Newton, Dyer and the Tigers won the BCS National Championship. Dyer’s 143 yards on 22 carries earned him the Offensive Player of the Game. Times were good for the running back. Actually, times were great for the first-year Tiger.

The Little Rock, Ark., native did not disappoint during his sophomore year either. Recording 1,242 yards rushing on 242 attempts, he became 10th all-time of Auburn’s rushing list with 2,335 yards. Adding 10 touchdowns to his 2011 season total, Dyer was named to the Associated Press and Coaches’ All-SEC first teams.

However, the times became a little darker before Auburn would complete its 2011 season. After the announcement of Dyer’s indefinite suspension just before the Chick-fil-A Bowl, rumors began to swirl that the running back was going to transfer to Arkansas State. While Red Wolf players continued to use social media to confirm the rumors, Auburn easily beat Virginia 43-24 without Dyer. On Jan. 6, however, Dyer announced he was in fact going back to his home state to play collegiate football.

Joining former Auburn offensive coordinator and newly hired Arkansas State coach Malzahn put the Red Wolves on the map as far as mid-majors go. While waiting to see if he would be eligible to play in 2012 for his former coordinator, Dyer embarrassed Auburn once again.

Subpoenaed for a trial of four former Auburn players that allegedly robbed a trailer in January 2011, Dyer admitted to not only “constantly” smoking synthetic marijuana (which was legal at the time of the robbery), but he also said the gun used in the robbery was his pistol.

The former Tiger continued his ways later in the spring, as well. Already disliked and disowned by most of Auburn’s fan base, Dyer almost burned bridges with Arkansas State faithful when it was rumored he was considering transferring to Pittsburg State after the NCAA ruled he would have to sit out the 2012 season.

The rumors of transferring, which began several weeks ago, may now become true after Dyer was dismissed from the Red Wolves 23 days after being ruled ineligible for this fall. Malzahn only said he was disappointed that things did not work out with Dyer.

Back to the original question, though. When did Dyer become such a problem? Some would say the problem began after the national championship. The robbery and first admittance to Dyer partaking in smoking spice occurred later in the month the Tigers won the Coaches’ Trophy.

However, at this point, it is hard to believe Dyer was not a bad egg all along. With the NCAA investigating Newton’s recruitment during the fall of 2010–and months later–Dyer only made a statement on the field with his running abilities. Despite Coach Gene Chizik running a tight ship on the Plains, is it possible that the starting freshman was able to lay low because of everything else going on?

The junior running back can be called a range of things, but now he cannot only not be called an Auburn Tiger, he also is no longer an Arkansas State Red Wolf. Where Dyer goes from here is unknown, but unless he gets his off-the-field priorities in check it is hard to  believe he will go far in the future.

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