A self-proclaimed ‘changed’ man, Michael Dyer hoping for one last FBS shot

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To say that Michael Dyer’s life on and off the football field has gone downhill over the past couple of years would be the understatement to end all understatements.

Now, though, the the former running back swears he’s a changed man.

Speaking to ESPN.com‘s Joe Schad, Dyer stated that he “[wants] a chance to show people my character is better than it was in the past.”  Two years removed from this level, Dyer is hoping to get one last shot with an FBS program.

I want to clear my name,” Dyer told Schad. “I understand the reasons I am in this situation. I placed myself here. I take responsibility. …

Unfortunately for Dyer, but understandably at the same time, no FBS program from automatic qualifying conferences has shown the least bit of interest.

“I understand their reasoning of not taking me,” Dyer said. “It’s been very, very hard. But I’m not the same person I was. I’ve changed. I’ve grown up.”

The fact that no top-tier team wants to take a chance on the talented but troubled player is hardly surprising.

In January of 2011 as a freshman, Dyer was named the offensive MVP of Auburn’s BCS title game win.  After rushing for 1,000 yards each of his first two seasons with the Tigers, Dyer was “granted a release from his scholarship” in January of 2012, one month after he was suspended for the Tigers’ appearance in the Chick-fil-A Bowl for failing multiple drug tests.  He transferred to Arkansas State that same month in a reunion with former AU offensive coordinator and then-ASU head coach Gus Malzahn; six months later, he was dismissed by Malzahn for “undisclosed violations of team rules.”

In August of 2012, Dyer landed at Arkansas Baptist, where he sat out the football season to focus on academics.

In April of this year, it was reported that Dyer would take a visit to TCU.  Shortly after a report surfaced that Dyer “should’ve” been declared academically ineligible for the BCS title game against Oregon, that visit was scuttled.  That same month, Dyer expressed an interest in playing for Arkansas, although the Razorbacks did not reciprocate the interest.

The glimmer of hope for Dyer is that, according to his uncle, two FBS programs have shown interest.  One of those, Western Kentucky, is coached by former Arkansas head coach Bobby Petrino.  The Sun Belt’s Troy is the other FBS team, while FCS-level Illinois State is another to show interest.

If Dyer is unable to find a new football home at the collegiate level, he will likely make himself available for the NFL’s supplemental draft this month.

Auburn’s John Franklin III may not be completely done playing QB after all

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Auburn quarterback-turned-wideout John Franklin III may not be completely done taking snaps behind center after all.

The Tigers’ new offensive coordinator tipped that the speedy receiver likely would be the best option to fill the team’s emergency quarterback spot in 2017 while speaking to AL.com during a meeting with a booster club over the weekend.

“I think he definitely could be (the emergency option), for sure,” Chip Lindsey told the site. “He’s done it his whole life, so I think he could definitely do that if we needed him to, for sure.”

Auburn suffered a host of injuries at the position last season, which prompted some extended playing time for Franklin as he appeared in all 13 games of the 2016 campaign and threw for 204 yards and a touchdown. He was moved to wide receiver during spring practice following the arrival of highly touted Baylor transfer Jarrett Stidham and seems likely he’ll see the bulk of the action catching passes during the year instead of throwing them.

However, transfers out of the Plains have changed the equation a little bit at quarterback for Auburn. On top of former starter Sean White still recovering from a broken arm, redshirt freshman Woody Barrett decided to move to a JUCO and fellow backup Tyler Queen dropped all the way down to a Division II school this offseason. That leaves just Stidham and White with any experience at the position this year and true freshman Malik Willis behind them on the depth chart.

You can bet that Lindsey and head coach Gus Malzahn want to preserve Willis’ redshirt in 2017 so it certainly makes sense to have Franklin slot in behind the team’s unquestioned top two quarterbacks if either were to go down with an injury. Even if everybody stays healthy, it seems likely we’ll even get to see Franklin in a few Wildcat packages for the Tigers given his skillset so his days behind center don’t appear to be fully over just yet.

Ex-UCF lineman sues athletic department over use of his name and likeness

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Central Florida is involved in yet another lawsuit with a former player only this time it’s over the use of a former lineman’s likeness.

Jah Reid, who played at UCF from 2006-10, has sued the school’s non-profit athletics association as well as a separate corporation led by football coach Scott Frost for “improper use of his likeness,” the Orlando Sentinel  reports. He is apparently seeking some $200,000 in royalties and a whopping $600,000 in damages over the case.

At the heart of the matter is apparently how Frost’s summer camps advertised using Reid’s likeness to promote it to future recruits. The former offensive lineman’s picture was reportedly used and the lawsuit brings up the fact that a brochure used the line: “come to camp and have a chance to earn an offer like Jah Reid.”

Reid did not play for Frost during his time on the team and instead was recruited and coached by former Knights coach George O’Leary. Reid was later drafted by the Baltimore Ravens and is currently a member of the Kansas City Chiefs organization heading into the 2017 season.

The use of an athlete’s name and likeness have been litigated quite in recent years, notably in the O’Bannon vs. NCAA case that continues to make its way through the court system. It will be interesting to see if the Reid lawsuit against UCF even makes it to trial in light of that or if the parties eventually settle out of court before it gets to that point.

Either way, probably not the offseason news that Frost and the UCF athletics brass wanted to see this summer.

Former Alabama coach Gene Stallings recovering after suffering slight stroke last week

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Scary news out of Alabama as former Crimson Tide head coach Gene Stallings reportedly suffered a slight stroke last week.

According to AL.com, Stallings was attending a charity golf tournament dinner on Thursday honoring former his player and assistant coach Dabo Swinney when he felt ill. He was eventually hospitalized in Montgomery later that night and diagnosed with a slight stroke after losing peripheral vision in his right eye.

“Bottom line is I’m not supposed to do anything for five, six weeks,” Stallings told the paper after returning to his home in Texas.

The College Football Hall of Famer coached Alabama to the 1992 national title and previously won a Super Bowl as an assistant with the Dallas Cowboys. Stallings is a regular discussing the Tide in recent years during various radio and TV appearances and played a key role in starting Swinney’s coaching career before the latter eventually wound up winning a national title of his own with Clemson this past season.

Hopefully the veteran coach gets well soon as he recovers from the scary incident in Montgomery last week.

Former Oregon RB set to attempt football comeback… at Oregon State

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The next edition of the Civil War could feature a familiar face for fans of both sides of Oregon’s famous rivalry.

Oregonian columnist John Canzano reports that former Oregon Ducks tailback Thomas Tyner is set to return from a medical retirement from football and will instead be headed up the road to Corvallis in order to join Oregon State’s backfield in 2017:

Tyner requested his release from the University of Oregon on Friday. At 9 a.m. on Saturday morning it became official and the former five-star running back who once rushed for 644 yards and scored 10 touchdowns in a single game for Aloha High School prepared to talk with Beavers coach Gary Andersen about playing for OSU next season.

“I’ve wanted to be a Beaver my whole life,” Tyner said.

It seems there’s still plenty to sort out when it comes to the NCAA and becoming eligible for the upcoming season but Tyner seems pretty set on returning to the football field where he once made a name for himself. One of the few five-star prospects to prep in the Beaver State, the running back was a key member of the backfield rotation and rushed for 1,284 yards and 14 touchdowns over two seasons with the Ducks.

Shoulder injuries prevented him from getting back on the field however and it was later announced that he was retiring from the game. It seems the itch to play was just to great though and hence we have this rather interesting comeback attempt at a Pac-12 rival. Canzano notes that Tyner couldn’t play for the Ducks if he wanted because he took that medical retirement and NCAA rules prevent a return, so it’s Beavers or bust in 2017 and beyond for the running back.

If everything does sort itself out eventually and Tyner shows flashes of his former self, he could turn OSU into one of the best backfields on the West Coast. Ryan Nall is already an established, quality starter and he could form a nice thunder-and-lightning tandem with the speedy Tyner for the rebuilding Beavers. Either way, best to circle November 25th on your calendar and tune in for the annual Civil War (in Eugene this year, no less) because it could feature one player who is as intimately familiar with the opponent as he is with his own team.