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Chuck Landon: Dyer good choice or a risk for Marshall?

Jul. 06, 2013 @ 10:41 PM

Marshall has been known to give second chances to athletes with checkered pasts.

A prime example is Randy Moss.

First, he was denied admission to Notre Dame because of criminal charges stemming from a racially-motivated fight at now-defunct DuPont High School in Kanawha County. Next, Moss tested positive for marijuana while sitting out at Florida State and was dismissed from the football program.

But it didn't stop Marshall coach Bobby Pruett from giving Moss another chance. And look what happened.

That leads us to Michael Dyer.

The gifted but troubled former Auburn star running back is looking for a school to help repair his reputation.

Marshall is on his short list, according to ESPN.com's Joe Schad, along with UAB. Schad also reported Marshall has shown interest in Dyer.

Besides those two schools, a story in Tuesday's editions of the Louisville Courier-Journal newspaper also listed Western Kentucky, Troy and Illinois State as having interest in Dyer.

Now, let's be honest.

Which of those five schools would provide Dyer with the best opportunity for success? Marshall, hands down. The Herd is primed for a breakout season and Dyer could put Marshall over the top.

As for the other contenders, UAB and Troy are after-thoughts in Alabama, Illinois State isn't even a Football Bowl Subdivision school and first-year Western Kentucky coach Bobby Petrino needs to repair his own damaged reputation before taking any other risks.

Marshall should be the obvious choice. There's no question. But there is a question, a very big question, about this potential situation.

Should Marshall roll the dice on Dyer?

Let's examine the circumstances.

In 2010, Dyer rushed for 1,093 yards on 182 carries with five touchdowns, breaking the Auburn record for most rushing yards by a freshman, previously held by Bo Jackson. in Auburn's BCS national championship win over Oregon, Dyer was named the offensive "Player of the Game" after rushing for 143 yards on 22 carries.

Next, the 5-foot-9, 207-pound sophomore rushed for 1,242 yards on 242 attempts with 10 touchdowns. Dyer was a consensus All-SEC first-team selection.

Then, his troubles began. Dyer failed a postseason drug test prior to Auburn's bowl game and was suspended indefinitely. Dyer was released from his scholarship and transferred to Arkansas State, following former Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn who had been hired as head coach.

On March 10, 2012, Dyer and teammate Ronnie Wright were pulled over in separate cars for speeding (96 mph) by the Arkansas State Police. A gun and a suspected bag of marijuana were then found in Dyer's car. Dyer admitted to owning the gun used in the infamous 2012 armed robbery involving four of Dyer's Auburn teammates.

Malzahn dismissed Dyer from the program after the incident and, now, Dyer is trying to resurrect his career during his two remaining years of eligibility.

Should it be at Marshall?

No MU transfer has had this much baggage since an unknown wideout named Percy Moorman trotted onto the field at Fairfield Stadium early in the 1989 season. When it was learned Moorman had been convicted of a sex-related crime, there was a public outcry from Herd fans.

Dyer could create a similar controversy. Does a Marshall football program poised for a big season need to take that risk?

Give me your opinion.

Chuck Landon is a sports columnist for The Herald-Dispatch. Contact him at 304-526-2827 or clandon@herald-dispatch.com.

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