By Zac Ellis
Fresh off receiving his degree, Michael Dyer is looking to play a little football.
The former Auburn and Arkansas State running back told USA Today's George Schroeder that he continues to seek opportunities to revive his football career. Dyer said that even if another program offers him a scholarship, he'd prefer to join his hometown Arkansas Razorbacks as a walk-on.
"If Arkansas said I could walk on, I'd go walk on at Arkansas."
Dyer graduated with his associate's degree from Arkansas Bible College in June after previously leaving both Auburn and Arkansas State. He will be immediately eligible to play as a junior.
A star during Auburn's BCS championship season, Dyer transferred to Arkansas State after he was indefinitely suspended by coach Gene Chizik following a failed drug test in 2011. He later testified in court to having his gun used in a March 2011 robbery by four of his Tigers teammates, and, once at Arkansas State, was dismissed by coach Gus Malzahn for another run-in with the law: Dyer was pulled over for speeding and had a gun confiscated from his car.
Dyer reportedly received interest from Marshall, Troy and Western Kentucky, but early interest from the likes of TCU and Louisville has subsided in recent weeks. Arkansas Bible College administrators say recent developments in the Aaron Hernandez case have caused schools to think twice about offering Dyer another chance.
According to Arkansas Baptist College president Fitz Hill, who has mentored Dyer for the past several months, some schools have grown even more cautious of bringing Dyer aboard "because of the (Aaron) Hernandez situation." Hill, a former San Jose State head coach, said he understands, "You have to err on the side of caution, particularly with the era and the environment we're in."
Dyer stressed that he has matured and wants to focus exclusively on football.
"I'm only gonna go to school, make good grades and play football," he said. "I don't bring anything with me. No registered gun, and I'm not gonna waste your time smoking marijuana. I want to put a jersey on, sweat and play football. I want to show people the true Michael Dyer."
From a strictly X's-and-O's perspective, Arkansas could potentially use Dyer's skill set. The Hogs lose leading rushers Dennis Johnson and Knile Davis, who combined for 1,134 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2012. The team's leading returning rusher is sophomore Johnathan Williams, who carried 45 times for 231 yards as a freshman and did not find the end zone. Dyer recorded consecutive 1,000-yard rushing seasons at Auburn in 2010 and 2011. He won offensive MVP honors after the Tigers' victory over Oregon in the 2011 BCS title game, when he carried 22 times for 143 yards.